Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharCNN to feature Hickenlooper in town hall next week Trump mocks O'Rourke's 'crazy' hand movements Harris fundraises off O'Rourke's 2020 announcement MORE (D-Minn.) said she thinks the Obama administration missed a key opportunity to lower drug prices when it passed the Affordable Care Act.
In an interview with CNN that aired Friday, the 2020 presidential candidate criticized the influence of the pharmaceutical industry during ObamaCare negotiations.
Hospitals, doctors, insurers and even the medical device industry all took payment cuts as a way to pay for the law’s massive expansion of health coverage.
But the pharmaceutical industry remained relatively unscathed, and nothing in the law allowed Congress or the White House to take action on lowering drug prices.
Tackling rising prescription drug prices is a bipartisan issue in Congress and on the campaign trail, as public polling suggests the issue is a top concern among voters. Democrats and Republicans broadly agree there’s a problem, but are divided over the solutions.
Klobuchar is one of more than a dozen Democrats currently running for president and jockeying to show they can lead on drug pricing reforms.
Klobuchar said she and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyDivisions emerge over House drug price bills GOP senators introduce bill to rein in president's emergency powers Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Trump unveils 2020 budget | Calls for cuts to NIH | Proposes user fees on e-cigs | Azar heads to Capitol to defend blueprint | Key drug price bill gets hearing this week MORE (R-Iowa) are committed to fixing what she said was something that was neglected by previous administrations of both parties.
“I see it as a missed opportunity, but now we must move forward,” Klobuchar said. “I think both parties have been guilty of not bringing these [bills] up and there’s one party in charge right now, and that’s the Republican Party, and I want to see them bring these bills up for a vote, and I think we can pass them.”
As chairman of the Finance Committee, Grassley is trying to shine a spotlight on drug pricing. Last month, the CEOs of seven major drug companies were grilled by committee members about pricing practices.
Grassley and Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — FDA issues proposal to limit sales of flavored e-cigs | Trump health chief gets grilling | Divisions emerge over House drug pricing bills | Dems launch investigation into short-term health plans Hillicon Valley: Doctors press tech to crack down on anti-vax content | Facebook, Instagram suffer widespread outages | Spotify hits Apple with antitrust complaint | FCC rejects calls to delay 5G auction Dem senator announces bill in response to college admissions cheating scandal MORE (D-Ore.), the Finance Committee's ranking member, also invited five pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to testify next month. Lawmakers have been just as critical about the role of PBMs, which negotiate drug benefits with manufacturers for insurance plans and employers, as they have with drug manufacturers.