I’m thinking about my friend E., whose chemo cost $30K a month — and she didn’t have prescription coverage. There are so many people like her, so this is good:
One of her ideas would target insurers, setting a monthly limit of $250 on out-of-pocket costs for covered drugs, as has been done already in Maine and for Obamacare exchange plans in California.
Clinton’s policies also include some that the Obama administration has repeatedly pushed but have fallen flat on Capitol Hill, like lowering the monopoly marketing period for a costly new class of drugs called biologics from 12 to seven years.
Like most Democrats, including Sanders, Clinton calls for empowering Medicare to leverage its massive negotiating power to lower prices for seniors. That’s an idea that’s been around since the Medicare drug law passed early in the George W. Bush administration, but the GOP has consistently opposed it.
Clinton and Sanders would let Americans re-import drugs from other countries, where they are often sold at half the price. And they would outlaw so-called pay-for-delay settlements in patent litigation in which brand name companies pay their generic competitors to hold off on marketing a cheaper copycat drug.
Clinton would require deeper rebates on drugs for low-income people on the Medicare program — the same provided to those on Medicaid. That’s the source of the estimated $100 billion in savings.
Clinton’s plan includes some less familiar proposals as well, which were aired last week in a policy paper by the liberal Center for American Progress. Those include requiring companies that benefit from federal spending on basic research, such as through NIH, to spend a certain amount on research and development.