Exclusive — Rick Scott to Healthcare Industry: Lower Drug Prices, or Congress Will

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol January 17, 2019 in Washington, DC. Sen. Scott held the news conference to discuss the partial government shutdown. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Rick Scott told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview this week that drug manufacturers need to lower the price of prescription drugs, or Congress will.

Sen. Scott, a former Florida governor and chief executive of one of the country’s largest hospital associations, spoke with Breitbart News regarding his thoughts on former Vice President Joe Biden’s public option plan, his healthcare reforms, and his urging the healthcare industry to reform itself.

Scott told Breitbart News that Biden’s public option plan serves as a scheme to enroll every American in a “government” health insurance plan.

Sen. Scott and seven of his Republican colleagues sent a letter this week to Stephen Ubl, the president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), accusing PhRMA of failing to provide a “single answer or solution to our questions” on lowering prescription drugs.

Scott told Breitbart News that he received a disappointing “non-answer” from PhRMA, even though he has encouraged the healthcare industry to reform itself before Congress needs to propose solutions.

The former healthcare executive said, “It’s called a non-answer. I was disappointed. When I first came up here, I started having some meetings that I invited PhRMA, PBM’s [pharmacy benefit managers], physicians, hospitals, insurance companies, a variety of groups, to say, ‘How do we fix this? How do we get lower prices?'”

Sen. Scott said he told the healthcare industry, “Here’s what’s going to happen: We are going to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Either you can be part of the conversation and come up with ideas how to solve it, or we’re going to do something.”

He added, “Hopefully, the industry can figure itself out on its own. They understand that prices are too high. They have got to come up with solutions that will solve this problem.”

Sen. Scott’s statement mirrors Sen. Mike Braun’s (R-IN) argument that “Republicans need to force” change in the healthcare industry. Braun said that if the industry does not change itself, Medicare for All will win.

In an interview with Breitbart News this week, Sen. Braun said the healthcare industry should have fixed surprise medical bills by themselves.

Braun said, “First of all, at least we’re talking about surprise medical bills. That should be another [idea] that’s dumb. Nobody likes surprise medical bills. That should have been something the industry and insurance companies fixed either through benchmarking and or arbitration.”

Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and ranking member Patty Murray (D-WA) have pushed the Lower Health Care Costs Act, which would address surprise medical bills through benchmarking, or banning doctors from charging patients more than an in-network provider and would require health insurers to pay out-of-network providers the median in-network rate.

Braun said Republicans need to “push back” onto the healthcare industry to fix itself, and, he said, “I tell them every time to fix yourselves. If you don’t and people can see it to where they get— surprise medical billing takes the consumer out of it, benchmark and arbitration out of it. Real results. Prices coming down, transparency on pharmaceuticals.

“We’re going to throw it to the Biden campaign and some of the crazies that like Medicare for All. Blame it on the industry if it happens,” Braun added.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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