The House voted 255-170 to require HHS to negotiate with drugmakers over prices for prescription drugs covered by Medicare Part D. The bill, sponsored primarily by Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), also requires HHS to report to Congress by June 1 and every six months after on the results of negotiations. A similar bill is pending in the Senate, although it requires negotiations only when there is no competition for a drug, the drug was created with substantial taxpayer support or a Part D plan requests help. The Senate is expected to take longer to consider the matter than the House. President Bush has said he will veto legislation that requires negotiations. Under the law that created the Part D benefit, the federal government is prohibited from directly negotiating with drugmakers. Instead, private insurers that offer the benefit or pharmacy benefits managers negotiate for price discounts. -- by Matthew DoBias
House passes drug negotiations bill
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