Senators raise questions, concerns in letter to federal health agencies

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), along with her Senate Republican colleagues, this week expressed concerns in a letter—led by U.S. Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)—about the establishment of a permanent government price-setting program, funded by billions of taxpayer dollars, in the partisan Inflation Reduction Act. Additionally, the senators raised questions regarding federal health agencies’ plans for program implementation. 

In a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator (CMS) Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the senators highlighted the outsize risks the impending government pricing initiative poses for patients, frontline health care providers, small businesses, and the American economy as a whole, and urge the officials to weigh impacts on health care access, research and development (R&D) and domestic manufacturing.

“As the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has confirmed, the government price controls codified under the recently enacted reconciliation legislation have the potential to increase launch prices for new medications, as well as to trigger fewer new drug approvals in the coming years,” the senators wrote.

“Other independent analyses have projected even more catastrophic consequences, from hundreds of thousands of domestic job losses to hundreds of billions in forgone R&D dollars.  The innovation ecosystem that has made the United States the world’s unquestioned life sciences leader, bolstered by thousands of startups and small businesses, may wither under this partisan legislation, particularly in the absence of careful, deliberative implementation and assertive, consumer-oriented oversight,” the senators continued.

In addition to Senators Capito and Crapo, the letter is signed by: U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), John Thune (R-S.D.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)