Buttigieg unveils aggressive plan to lower drug prices

Buttigieg unveils aggressive plan to lower drug prices
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden meets with bipartisan lawmakers for infrastructure negotiations Senate Republicans label Biden infrastructure plan a 'slush fund' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - Congress returns; infrastructure takes center stage MORE on Monday unveiled a far-reaching plan to lower the cost of prescription drugs, the latest tough proposal from the party's 2020 hopefuls.

Buttigieg would allow both Medicare and the new public option plan he would create to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs, and those lower prices would be available to people with private insurance too. 

The South Bend, Ind., mayor would cap out-of-pocket drug costs in Medicare at $200 per month and force drug companies to pay rebates back if their prices rose faster than inflation. 

For the “worst offender” companies, he would exercise rarely used authority under current law to strip firms of their patents if they were not offering a drug at a reasonable price. 

Buttigieg, who is behind the top tier of candidates in the polls, tied his plan to his argument for installing a younger generation of leaders such as himself. 

“It’s time for a new era of leadership in Washington who will finally make drugs affordable and take on pharmaceutical companies,” he said. 

Lowering drug prices is a top priority for voters and an idea that President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump: McConnell 'helpless' to stop Biden from packing court Romney on NRSC awarding Trump: Not 'my preference' McConnell sidesteps Trump calling him 'dumb son of a b----' MORE has embraced as well, though he has yet to take major action. That has led Democratic candidates to come out with a variety of aggressive plans.  

Bold plans to crack down on pharmaceutical companies has been a theme in the Democratic primary, with tough plans both from the more moderate side and from leading progressives. 

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump: McConnell 'helpless' to stop Biden from packing court Biden, first lady send 'warmest greetings' to Muslims for Ramadan The business case for child care reform MORE, for example, also has a tough plan that would set up an independent review board to set a reasonable price for new drugs, among other steps. 

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOn The Money: Biden .5T budget proposes major hike in social programs | GOP bashes border, policing provisions Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists POW/MIA flag moved back atop White House MORE (D-Mass.) would allow the government to manufacture lower-cost generic drugs itself, while Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersAmazon workers have spoken — are progressives listening? What's really behind Joe Biden's far-left swing? It's time to declare a national climate emergency MORE (I-Vt.) would tie drug prices to lower prices paid in other countries. 

The "Medicare for All" plan backed by Warren and Sanders would also give the government much more power in setting lower prices for drugs.