There is a challenge on the rise between the GOP and the pharmaceuticals who continue to find ways to raise the prices on prescription medicines. Democrats are making it sound like the Senate Republicans do not care, but the Democrats are the ones playing games. With everything they have attacked President Trump with from the impeachment hearings to trying to strip him of his Constitutional powers as the Commander in Chief, it leaves little to no room for anyone to focus on what is important. With the voters, the economy is mostly the first issue. Still, with the rising cost of medication, it is running a close second.
This November, the Senate is focusing on keeping the GOP members in charge. In the House, the pressure is on Republicans to take back their control.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell never said he would not support lowering the cost of prescription drugs. What he said was, he was not going to hold a vote in the Senate on a House-passed bill to reduce the cost. They want full control of both the House and the Senate before this is done.
By not doing anything at the moment may come back to bite Republicans and hurt them in the voting booths. Senator Chuck Grassley came up with a bipartisan bill that will have to be voted on every year to limit drug companies from increasing their prices.
Senator Grassley, who is also the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee said, “I made it very clear, just strictly from a political standpoint, that every one of these senators is hearing the same thing I am in Iowa: People are fed up with big increases in drug prices.” He added, “And there’s 22 Republicans up for reelection, and they need an answer to that.”
McConnell is also waiting for more support from the other GOP members. Grassley says he only has 60 votes left to reach his goal and have the bill passed through the Senate. If the support is met, there is no doubt McConnell will jump on the bill and work on pushing it through.
It is also a tactic to keep the GOP members on the same page in this trying time when the Democrats threaten more division. There is a gamble with holding back on bringing the bill to the Senate floor. Division amongst the party either before, during, or after. This is not what the Majority Leader wants or needs at this time. A source who is familiar with the proposal stated, “We’re focused on things Republicans can agree on.”
The Republicans who are against the Grassley bill are concerned the drug companies would have to pay back Medicare if the prices increase before the rate of inflation. Other Republicans say it would stop innovation and any new products which may be cheaper and more efficient. The GOP members want to hear more from both sides before putting the bill to a vote.
Republican Senator Mike Rounds stated, “I think there is an interest in doing something about the very high cost of prescription drugs. That challenge will be gathering consensus for changes that would be necessary. The concern that many of us have is we don’t want to limit the research and the desire for improvements of those drugs, and getting that balance is going to be the challenge.”
The constituents who voice their opinions to the lawmakers are saying this is a hot topic that needs to be fixed. Studies show there is one out of five people who say they know someone or they cannot afford to buy the medicines they need.
Republican Senator Joni Ernst said, “They are not happy with drug prices.” She was asked if she supports the proposed bill from Grassley. Ernst stated, “I do have a couple of issues with the bill that I am trying to work through.” Both Senator Ernst and Senator Rounds are up for reelection this November.
At the beginning of this year, drug companies raised their prices on hundreds of drugs by five percent. People already have a hard time paying for the old cost. Many have to do without and suffer. Some of these medications are life and death issues.
This is what Democrats have done to our system of democracy. If the issues are too controversial, then the lawmakers do not have time to discuss the problems. Democrats may never defeat the Republicans. But they sure made things difficult.