House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) bill that would let Medicare negotiate prices with drug companies would save the government $456 billion over 10 years, according to an analysis released Tuesday.
The bill, which will get a vote on the House floor this week, would require that federal health officials negotiate the prices of at least 35 brand-name drugs per year.
Medicare price negotiation, which is prohibited under current law, has been presented by Democrats as a solution to rising drug costs.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Congress’s nonpartisan scorekeeper, cautioned in its report that the estimates are “uncertain.”
But the estimate is a win for House Democrats, who argue they won back the House majority in 2018 in part because they promised to work on lowering drug prices and health care costs.
The bill would also provide dental, vision and hearing benefits to Medicare beneficiaries, with the CBO putting the cost at $358 billion over 10 years. In all, the CBO estimates the bill would reduce the deficit by $5 billion over 10 years.
Republicans have argued allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices would lead to fewer new drugs being introduced in the U.S.
The CBO estimates the bill would result in eight fewer drugs being introduced to the market over the 2020–2029 period. Under current law, about 30 new drugs are approved by the Food and Drug Administration every year.