Pete Buttigieg’s Plans For Americans’ Health

Image: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0

Oct 7, 2019

| CNN – South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has released a plan aimed at reducing prescription drug costs and jump starting pharmaceutical innovation.

“Time and time again, Washington has proven that it’s either uninterested in or incapable of addressing this problem,” the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate writes.

“Instead of siding with Americans, politicians have stood with corporate health care, as they did when Congress barred the federal government from negotiating with pharmaceutical companies on drug prices for seniors.”

The plan, titled “Affordable Medicine for All,” would offset $100 to 200 billion in spending by penalizing pharmaceutical companies that raise prices by more than inflation and by increasing the annual Branded Prescription Drug Fee, a section of the Affordable Care Act that sets an annual fee according to each manufacturers share of drug sales to government programs like Medicare Part D and the VA.

Buttigieg’s plan, which CNN obtained Sunday afternoon, echoes proposals from fellow 2020 hopefuls, including California Sen. Kamala Harris and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, in capping out-of-pocket drug spending, setting a limit at 50% for seniors on Medicare and at $250 per month for those choosing a public health insurance option under Buttigieg’s newly released “Medicare for All Who Want It” plan.

The plan also calls on the federal government to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies based on a series of criteria, including:

“(1) the therapeutic gain offered by the drug, (2) the cost of bringing the therapeutic class of drugs to market, (3) the current costs of treating the indicated disease, and (4) international prices charged for these drugs.”

On the campaign trail, Buttigieg has often called for steep penalties for “deliberately making it harder, gouging the American people,” to pay for drug costs, telling voters in South Carolina last month that any pharmaceutical company found guilty of doing so “has to be punished with real teeth.” Read more. 

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