As it turns out, the fears that the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was simply another step toward a fully socialized healthcare system were well founded. For evidence, less than a year after the IRA was signed into law U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Peter Welch (D-VT) and 23 Democrat colleagues are now proposing another giant leap toward socialized medicine called the Strengthening Medicare and Reducing Taxpayer (SMART) Prices Act.
According to the sponsors, the Act builds on the “provision included in the Inflation Reduction Act that empowered Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices for the first time” by “allowing prescription drugs and biologics to be eligible for negotiation five years after approval by the Food and Drug Administration and increasing the overall amount by which Medicare can lower prices through negotiation.”
This description lays bare their long-term intentions. There was never any sound policy basis for giving biologics and small molecule medicines 13 years and 9 years of FDA approval, respectively, before being potentially subject to government price controls. The same logic applies to the new benchmark of five years. These benchmarks are simply temporary negotiation concessions that the Senators have no intention of keeping.