The Latest: Biden to call for Medicare drug cost negotiating

Aptopix Biden 100 Days Congress

The Capitol is seen in Washington, early Wednesday, April 28, 2021, as President Joe Biden prepares to address House and Senate lawmakers on his first 100 days in office. Biden will speak before a pared-down gathering of mask-wearing legislators due to coronavirus restrictions. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Joe Biden’s first joint address to Congress (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

The White House says President Joe Biden’s speech to Congress will call on lawmakers to lower prescription drug costs by acting this year to empower Medicare to negotiate prices.

A White House official confirmed Biden’s plan on condition of anonymity in advance of the president’s speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night.

Medicare’s prescription drug benefit is delivered through private insurers, and the program is currently barred by law from negotiating prices directly with pharmaceutical companies.

As a candidate, Biden promised to change that, but he has yet to submit legislation to Congress. The official says Biden remains committed to working for reduced prescription drug prices.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is moving ahead with her plan to use expected savings from lower spending on drugs to expand Medicare benefits, capping prescription drug bills for seniors.

But Republicans are solidly opposed to Medicare negotiations, and some Senate Democrats have qualms. It’s unclear if Pelosi’s approach can get through the Senate.

Categories: National & International News, Politics