May 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

What's at stake for employers in Congress's drug pricing fight

A drug pill half-filled with money.

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

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.

Go deeper: Prescription drug price fight gets a funding infusion

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