Likelihood of Congressional Action This Year on Issue of Prescription Drug Spending Examined
Gannett/Detroit News on Monday examined the belief of many health care experts that Congress will not address prescription drug spending this session, in large part because of the "wariness of Republican leaders to reopen the Medicare drug benefit that was so difficult to pass."
Instead, Congress is more likely to take up issues relating to drug safety, according to Jack Calfee of the American Enterprise Institute. Calfee said, "It's simpler. They think they can make changes in drug safety without increasing drug prices."
Consumers Union health policy analyst Gail Shearer said it is "inevitable" that Congress will address rising prescription drug spending eventually. However, she added, "The outlook for [lawmakers] addressing this in a really comprehensive way in the short term is probably not very good."
According to Gannett/News, the rate of drug price increases is expected to slow compared with previous years, "partly because fewer new drugs are in the pipeline and several top-selling drugs are losing patent protections" (Groppe, Gannett/Detroit News, 3/14).