How to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

November 22, 2019

Another big reason why 2020 matters.

The Roosevelt Rundown is an email series featuring the Roosevelt Institute’s top stories of the week. The Roosevelt Rundown will be on hiatus next week. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

How a President Could Cut Drug Prices

Executive action could be the key to curbing runaway drug prices, as Roosevelt Fellow Julie Margetta Morgan and Roosevelt Vice President for Advocacy and Policy Steph Sterling write in a new report for the Great Democracy Initiative. “There are many proposals in Congress to address high drug prices, but partisanship and policymakers’ deep ties to the pharmaceutical industry stand as barriers to congressional action. There are several things a presidential administration could do to help ensure affordable prescription drugs and encourage innovation in drug research without waiting for Congress.” Read on.

  • Another angle: “Sens. Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders are pushing for the creation of a new federal agency aimed at controlling the rising cost of prescription drugs. The pair, who are both vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, proposed a bill [last] Friday that would create a Bureau of Prescription Drug Affordability and Access, which would be responsible for determining the list prices of medications. The big stick: If a drug maker didn’t comply, the government would void its exclusivity protections and allow other companies to produce generic versions of the medicine.” Read more from CNN.
  • On the hill: “We can’t allow Big Pharma to continue taking advantage of seniors with exorbitant costs. That’s why I introduced HR 5309, the Life-Sustaining Prescription Drug Relief Act of 2019, which would lower the cost of life-sustaining prescription drugs for seniors and others on Medicare,” Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) writes for The Hill. “This legislation allows the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to leverage the purchasing power of the federal government along with prescription drug pricing data from other developed nations to ensure seniors receive better pricing and are not price-gouged on life-sustaining medications.”

Why a Public Option Won’t Be Universal

“What the public cares about is whether they will see relief—whether their deductibles can be eliminated without their premiums going up, whether they can find doctors near their home to choose from, and whether they can freely tend to their own well-being,” Roosevelt Fellow Naomi Zewde writes for the blog. “The public option conveniently leaves these questions largely unanswered. The best option for truly universal health care is a single-payer system.” Read on.

Why Affordable Student Health Insurance Matters

In the absence of universal health care, gaps in coverage and high premiums plague millions. As 2017 Roosevelt Network summer fellow Cara Schiavone proves, however, college students can rewrite the rules on campus. After over a year of research and advocacy, Schiavone and her team of George Washington University classmates helped secure landmark changes to GW’s student health insurance plan and health services in 2018—including an opt-out insurance waiver, the establishment of an electronic health records system, and the expansion of free mental health services. Eighteen months later, the results speak for themselves: a $1,400 reduction in premiums with no change in coverage quality. Read more from Schiavone on the blog.

How We Can Tax Away Excess CEO Pay

“Ambitious tax reform is top of many minds this primary season. A wealth tax has emerged as one of the defining issues of the campaign, and many of the bold public programs envisioned by progressives rely on new or higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations. One tax idea that is gaining more attention is ready for its moment: graduated taxes on corporations that pay their CEOs lavishly but pay workers a relative pittance,” Roosevelt President & CEO Felicia Wong writes for the blog. One takeaway: Taxing corporations with CEO-worker pay ratios over 400:1 could raise as much as $50 billion annually. Read more.

How Progressive Philanthropy Can Save Democracy

“By failing to address the underlying systemic power imbalance built into this country, progressives, ironically, have perhaps unwittingly helped to enable the level of corruption and consolidation of power we’re seeing at this moment. We believe, however, that progressive philanthropy could help rectify this,” Roosevelt Director of Development Juliette Kang Stableski and Roosevelt Network National Director Katie Kirchner write for Nonprofit Quarterly. Read on.

What We’re Reading

Stacey Abrams: Democrats’ Georgia Debate Puts Focus on the Issue That Really Counts – CNN

How FedEx Cut Its Tax Bill to $0 – New York Times

How Exposure to Pollution Affects Educational Outcomes and Inequality – Brookings

Can ‘Climate Sanctions’ Save the Planet? – The Nation

The Economic Debate over the Minimum Wage, Explained – Vox

Fixing the US Economy Isn’t Just About Money – The Nation

Revive the Middle Class by Bringing Back Unions – Bloomberg