- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Sen. Bernard Sanders said Tuesday that he would rewrite President Biden’s massive social-program spending bill to include allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices from pharmaceutical companies.

Mr. Biden is not expected to include Medicare negotiating power — a top priority for Mr. Sanders and other far-left Democrats — in the $1.5 trillion “American Families Plan” he will outline in a speech Wednesday to a joint session of Congress.

Mr. Sanders, who chairs the Finance Committee that will hold sway over the legislation, said the issue would not get left out.

“If I have anything to do with it,” he said when a reporter asked if the Medicare provision will get into the bill.

The quip from Mr. Sanders, an avowed socialist, underscored the intense pressure exerted on Mr. Biden by the far left of the Democratic Party.

Under the proposal, Medicare would be required to negotiate with drug companies to lower the prices that the government and the beneficiaries of the healthcare program pay. Such a move would save the government $456 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The negotiated price will also be used to limit what drug companies can charge private insurance companies.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America or PhRMA, the powerful drug company lobby, called the idea “hyperpartisan and draconian.”

PhRMA said the money the proposal would take away from drug companies will mean they will have less to spend on developing new cures.

• Kery Murakami can be reached at kmurakami@washingtontimes.com.

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