Republican Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Ottumwa says she’s opposed to having the federal government negotiate to lower the prices of prescription medicine covered by Medicare. Democrats have inserted this proposal in a bill that may be voted upon today.
Miller-Meeks, an eye doctor, says prescription drug cost controls would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship.
“When we give the government more control, we undermine what a physician — all of their knowledge, all of their experience, that of our compounding pharmacists, those with health care experience — and how they can prescribe the best treatments for their patients,” Miller-Meeks said during an online forum organized by the House GOP Leader’s office, “so it’s a tremendous concern to all of us — not just price, but also access to care, but also access to quality care.”
The VA has been able to negotiate the prices for prescription drugs for veterans under the agency’s care, but this would be the first time Medicare could negotiate prices for some of the medications prescribed to Americans over the age of 65. The plan would cover only the most expensive drugs and pricing negotiations wouldn’t start until 2023. Miller-Meeks suggested it’s a slippery slope. While Miller-Meeks did not directly cite medications that have primarily been used to treat malaria or to deworm livestock, she criticized regulations during the pandemic which have prevented doctors from prescribing alternative drugs for Covid patients.
“We’ve had governors make decisions over what drugs doctors can prescribe their patients under the penalty of doctors losing their license,” Miller-Meeks said. “We’ve seen government bureaucracy interfere with the doctor-patient relationship, whether it’s prescribing treatments, what they can get through hospitalization.”