Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said at a roundtable Friday that Democrats were forced to narrow a key provision of the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act because of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.
Manchin, touting the benefits of the new law for West Virginia at an event in his home state, alluded to his fellow centrist senator when lamenting that the drug pricing provisions weren’t more aggressive. The landmark policy included in the legislation empowers Medicare for the first time to negotiate prices with the pharmaceutical industry.
On Medicare and prescription drugs, he said: “We could basically — competition — let them go out and negotiate, and we can save a lot of money to a lot of people and take the burden off.”
“We had a senator from Arizona who basically didn’t let us go as far as we needed to go with our negotiations and made us wait two years,” Manchin said in a video of the event that was viewed by NBC News. “Those type of things — I don’t question anybody, everyone’s responding to their own constituent base. But we did get something. And it’s the first time we made a positive move in that.”
The law allows Medicare to negotiate the cost of 10 drugs in 2026, a number that is slated to rise gradually in the years after. Many Democrats wanted to begin earlier and give the government broader power to negotiate prices with the industry.