Sep 21, 2021 - Health

Democrats' case for prioritizing health care policies

Reproduced from Hart Research Associates; Chart: Axios Visuals

Health care advocates are making the case that the pieces of Democrats' legislative agenda that lower health care costs and expand coverage are the most popular with voters — and should thus be prioritized.

Why it matters: Democrats are trying to figure out what topline spending number they have to work with for their reconciliation package. The lower that number goes, the more the party will have to cut from the package.

State of play: The most popular piece of the reconciliation package — at least according to one recent poll — is also, so far, among the most controversial.

  • 41% of respondents in a recent Hart Research poll said that allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices is one of their top three priorities out of the major provisions included in the Democrats' reconciliation package — second only to expanding Medicare to include dental, hearing and vision benefits.
  • The poll was commissioned by Protect Our Care, which is pushing strongly for both measures.
  • Lowering prescription drug prices is also what produces the savings that pay for the other health care policies, which are also popular.

Driving the news: The drug pricing provisions are currently in hot water, which means all of the health care provisions are in danger.

  • House Democrats' signature drug pricing bill, which includes an aggressive version of Medicare negotiations, failed to pass through a key committee last week after three moderates voted against it.
  • Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) is also opposed to current drug pricing proposals, Politico scooped on Sunday.

Go deeper: Democrats' competing health care priorities

Go deeper