Poll: 83 percent support government negotiating drug prices
A large majority of the public favors allowing the government to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices, according to a new poll that comes as a legislative battle plays out on the issue.
The poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 83 percent of the public favors allowing the government to negotiate lower drug prices, for people both on Medicare and those in private insurance plans.
After being presented with both arguments in favor of the idea (that many people cannot afford their prescriptions) and against (that the policy could lead to fewer new drugs being developed), the overall results were unchanged. There was a small increase in the percentage saying they “somewhat” favored the policy after hearing the arguments, rather than “strongly” favoring it.
After hearing the arguments, 71 percent of Republicans also continued favoring the policy.
The findings come as Democrats push to include a version of the drug pricing policy in President Biden’s sweeping “Build Back Better” package now moving through Congress. That proposal will also likely include a cap on drug prices, in addition to allowing for negotiation. The party has run into concerns from a handful of more moderate Democrats, and is considering changes to the legislation to try to win them over.
With strong majorities in favor of the policy, many Democrats in competitive districts are also pushing for the policy to be enacted.
The poll finds that less than half of the public has confidence in congressional Democrats (48 percent), or Biden (46 percent) to do the right thing for the country on drug prices. Still, that is higher than for congressional Republicans, at 33 percent.
The poll also found that one in five U.S. adults age 65 and over say it is very or somewhat difficult for them to afford their prescriptions.
The poll was conducted with 1,146 U.S. adults ages 18 and over, online and by phone, from Sept. 23-Oct. 4. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.