Update: On August 7, 2022, the Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a broad climate, tax, and health-care reconciliation bill, with a vote of 51 to 50. During a review of the IRA, the Senate parliamentarian removed provisions from the bill that would have required drug companies to pay a rebate for drugs on the commercial market if their prices increase faster than the rate of inflation. A consumer spending cap on insulin on the commercial health insurance market was also removed during Senate floor debate on the legislation.
The bill includes federal investments in energy security, addressing climate change, and deficit reduction. These investments will be paid for by implementing a 15% corporate minimum tax, taxing stock buy-backs, and strengthening Internal Revenue Service enforcement.
The House of Representatives reconvened on August 12, 2022, to consider and vote on the legislation, which was passed. On August 16, President Biden signed the bill into law.
In early August, the U.S. Senate was poised to consider the Inflation Reduction Act, which included multiple drug pricing provisions that would impact cancer care. The legislation made proposals similar to those included in the Build Back Better Act (BBBA), which was passed by the House of Representatives in 2021 but failed to move in the Senate.
ASCO supported the bill’s aim of reducing the cost of prescription drugs and lowering patient out-of-pocket costs. However, in a recent letter to Senate leadership, ASCO and several other specialty societies expressed concern that the drug price negotiation provision will negatively impact patient access to critical prescription drugs under Medicare Part B and asked that Congress take steps to offset cuts to Part B reimbursement.
Key provisions in the legislation that would impact cancer care include:
ASCO continues to have serious concerns about the changes to Part B and Part D reimbursement that would result from drug price negotiation. The Association closely monitored the reconciliation package as it moved through Congress and weighed in on issues related to cancer care. ASCO will continue to work with Congress and the Administration to advocate for policies that better address high drug costs without compromising patient access to cancer care.