Democrats just passed a budget plan that would give federal bureaucrats the ability to “negotiate” drug prices directly with manufacturers. To the uninitiated, that sounds
attractive. After all, who wouldn’t want to pay less for medicines? But in reality, the negotiations aren’t going to lead to lower prices at the pharmacy. They’re going to instead
mean less access to lifesaving medicines today and fewer new medicines tomorrow.
The word “negotiation” is a euphemism, of course. When Big Government bigfoots its way into a market to tell a private business what it can charge for its products, that’s a price control.
The lawmakers touting negotiations hope to achieve their goal by repealing the “noninterference” clause that’s embedded in the law governing Medicare’s drug benefit. This language bars the Secretary of Health and Human Services from interfering in the private price negotiations for Medicare Part D plans. The rule has served America well, keeping government at bay for the 18 years (and counting) of Part D’s existence.