Axios: What’s at stake for employers in Congress’s drug pricing fight


By Caitlin Owens

May 21, 2021

Employers and their workers have hundreds of billions of dollars at stake in the fight over House Democrats’ drug pricing bill, according to a new West Health Policy Center analysis.

Why it matters: If anyone has the political clout to take on the drug industry, it’s employers.

By the numbers: The House bill could reduce employer health spending by $195 billion between 2023 and 2029, West Health estimates, noting that this is a conservative scenario.

  • Employees could save $61 billion through lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
  • Affordable Care Act market costs could fall by $58 billion.

Details: The bill would allow Medicare to negotiate the prices of some drugs, tie those prices to what other countries pay, and make those prices available in the commercial market.

  • It would also limit drug price increases under Medicare and cap beneficiary out-of-pocket spending.
  • The price negotiation provisions of the bill would save the federal government hundreds of billions of dollars over a decade, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated.

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