House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has put forward an aggressive plan allowing Medicare to negotiate the prices of some prescription drugs that could also be applied in the commercial market.

Why it matters: Under any other GOP administration, this plan would be dead on arrival. But Washington is waiting to see whether President Trump bites — and can then browbeat other Republicans into voting for it.

Between the lines: The framework of the plan is very similar to the draft that recently leaked, with changes likely made to appease various factions within the Democratic caucus.


  • The HHS secretary would identify 250 drugs without meaningful competition each year, and negotiate the prices of at least 25 of them. The negotiated price couldn't be more than 1.2 times what other countries pay for it, on average.
  • If a drug manufacturer refuses to negotiate, it'd get hit with an excise tax on annual gross sales beginning at 65% and increasing 10% every quarter that it remains out of compliance.
  • The manufacturer would be required to offer the negotiated price to commercial plans.
  • The plan also limits price increases in Medicare Part D and Part B to inflation (applied retroactively to 2016), creates an out-of-pocket spending cap in Part D, and restructures how Part D is paid for.

Go deeper: The Trump-Pelosi mind meld on drug costs

Go deeper

Pence to continue traveling despite aides testing positive for COVID-19

Marc Short with Pence in March. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force. Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the virus on Sunday morning, according to the vice president's office.

AOC: "Extremely important" that Biden offer Bernie Sanders a Cabinet position

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that she believes it's "extremely important" that Joe Biden offer Sen. Bernie Sanders and other progressive leaders Cabinet positions if he's elected president.

The big picture: Ocasio-Cortez was pressed repeatedly on policy differences between her and the more moderate Biden, including her opposition to fracking and support for Medicare for All. She responded that it would be a "privilege" and a "luxury" to be able to lobby a Biden administration on progressive issues, insisting that the focus right now should be on winning the White House.

1 hour ago - Health

Mark Meadows: "We are not going to control the pandemic"

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows defended Vice President Pence's decision to continue traveling and campaigning despite his exposure to aides who have tested positive for COVID-19, saying Sunday that Pence is exempt from CDC guidelines because he is "essential personnel."

Why it matters: CDC guidelines call for people who have been exposed to the virus to quarantine for 14 days. Meadows said on CNN's "State of the Union" that Pence will wear a mask when he travels and argued that "he's not just campaigning," pointing to the Israel-Sudan normalization agreement announced by the White House last week.

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