Drug pricing reform hit another major roadblock on Dec. 19, as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he would not support the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) in its current form. While drug pricing reforms are more likely than many of the dozens of policies included in the bill to pass Congress, D.C. health care insiders tell AIS Health that there still are barriers that could prevent such provisions from ever making it through the Senate.
The BBBA is a massive package that includes most of President Joe Biden’s domestic policy agenda. In its latest form, the bill would cost in the neighborhood of $2 trillion. Manchin, a centrist, has objected to the large price tag. The Senate has an even partisan split, meaning no member of the Democrats’ caucus can vote against the BBBA, as all the chamber’s Republican members have come out against it — giving Manchin (and each other member of the Democratic caucus) an effective veto over the bill.