What Could the Upcoming Midterm Elections Mean for Physicians and Healthcare?

Leigh Page

Disclosures

October 09, 2018

In This Article

Room to Compromise on Drug Costs?

Although both parties may not be able to agree on many healthcare issues, they might be able to make deals on a few crucial issues where they share the same basic views.

One such issue is controlling the rising cost of prescription drugs. "We have allowed the pharmaceutical industry to raise prices by 300%, 500%, even 1000%, with minimal investments in research and development," Pearl says. "This is reprehensible."

The Trump administration has already declared war on high drug prices. When the president unveiled the plan in May, he called it "the most sweeping action in history."[7] Alex Azar, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said the administration's plan involved "more than 50 actions planned or under consideration."

The Department of Health and Human Services announced one of its first regulatory actions on drug prices in July—a proposed rule to reduce payments for new Part B drugs—but many other actions on the administration's list will need Congressional action.

"We need the help of Congress," Trump acknowledged in May, "and we think it will be forthcoming." However, owing to the Senate bottleneck and sheer lack of time, these initiatives may have to wait for the new Congress next year.

Democrats share Republicans' concerns about high drug costs, but would they work with Trump to fix things? Maybe not, if it meant letting the president take credit.

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