Pelosi reaches deal with progressives to avert showdown over drug price bill

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Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSanders urges impeachment trial ‘quickly’ in the Senate Tech legal shield included in USMCA despite late Pelosi push GOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be ‘huge mistake’ MORE (D-Calif.) reached a deal with progressive leaders on Tuesday night to avert a showdown over her signature bill to lower drug prices.

The deal with Reps. Pramila JayapalPramila Jayapal‘They’ selected as word of the year by Merriam-Webster Overnight Health Care — Presented by That’s Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments Judiciary Democrat: Trump himself is ‘smoking gun’ in impeachment case MORE (D-Wash.) and Mark PocanMark William PocanHouse progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill Overnight Health Care: House to vote next week on drug prices bill | Conway says Trump trying to find ‘balance’ on youth vaping | US spent trillion on hospitals in 2018 Progressive leader warns members could vote no on drug price bill as it stands MORE (D-Wis.), the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, will include two changes that progressives have been pushing for over the course of weeks.

Those changes are to increase the minimum number of drugs subject to negotiation under the bill from 35 to 50 and to restore the implementation of Jayapal’s amendment, which would extend protections against drug price spikes to people on employer-sponsored health insurance plans, not just those on Medicare.

The deal prevents a showdown on Thursday when the bill will come to the floor for a vote. Progressive leaders had been contemplating a rare full-scale rebellion against Pelosi, thinking of blocking a vote on the drug pricing bill by trying to vote down a procedural motion.

“This is a huge win, and it shows what we can do when we stick together and all push hard for the American people,” Jayapal said in a statement.

The deal comes after Jayapal and Pocan met with Pelosi on Tuesday afternoon, capping off months of meetings between progressives and Pelosi pushing for bolder moves.

Progressives have long been pushing for changes to the bill and frequently complained that the process was closed-off and not allowing them enough input.

The underlying bill is one of House Democrats’ top priorities as they seek to show they are addressing kitchen table issues at the same time as impeachment. Lowering drug prices was a major Democratic campaign promise in 2018.

The measure allows the government to negotiate lower drug prices, with the lower prices applied to people with private insurance as well as those on Medicare.

The Congressional Budget Office found the negotiation provisions would save $456 billion over 10 years.

The bill is expected to die in the Senate, though, where Republicans have denounced the measure as “socialist” and warned it would hinder the development of new drugs.

It is possible some much smaller drug pricing measures could still become law, but the outlook is uncertain.

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