Democratic leaders on Friday blasted a new Republican bill that would roll back modest prescription drug pricing reforms that U.S. President Joe Biden recently signed into law.
"Their new bill is a giveaway to Big Pharma at the expense of seniors."
Republican Sens. James Lankford (Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.), and Marco Rubio (Fla.) introduced a bill that would repeal the medication-related provisions—including Medicare drug price negotiation—of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which Democrats sent to Biden's desk without GOP support using the budget reconciliation process.
In a statement slamming the GOP's so-called Protecting Drug Innovation Act, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre invoked former President Donald Trump's Make America Great Again (MAGA) campaign slogan.
"Today, MAGA congressional Republicans introduced legislation that puts special interests before working families," she said. "Their new bill is a giveaway to Big Pharma at the expense of seniors by ending Medicare's new ability to negotiate lower drug prices. Their vision for the country is extreme and out of touch with working families across the country."
Biden has repeatedly said, as he put it in a prime-time speech in Philadelphia last month, that "the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country."
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, also blasted the GOP's bid to reverse the IRA's progress on drug pricing.
"If you thought Republicans were done trying to repeal overwhelmingly popular healthcare policies that bring down costs—think again," she said. Previously, Republican lawmakers tried to repeal or curb the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, dozens of times.
Murray warned that the GOP bill would "take away one of the strongest tools Democrats passed to fight skyrocketing drug costs and force drug companies to the bargaining table," which she said "makes clear Republicans' healthcare proposals are the same as ever—higher costs for patients."
"People in Washington state and across the country want us to put patients over profits—and I've heard from so many seniors how relieved they were that Democrats gave Medicare new power to negotiate prices and take on out-of-control drug costs as part of the Inflation Reduction Act," she added. "This is a huge reform that is going to save so many seniors so much money—but not if these Senate Republicans have their way."
U.S. Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), who is running to unseat Rubio, said "shame on him for leading the fight to hike drug prices on Florida's seniors and putting Big Pharma special interests ahead of doing what's right."
"Floridians deserve a senator who shows up and works for them," she added. "In the Senate, I'll always fight to lower costs for our seniors."