Senate Democrats, including serial obstructionist Joe Manchin of West Virginia, have reportedly reached a deal on a plan that would allow Medicare to negotiate the prices of a small subset of prescription drugs directly with pharmaceutical companies, a change that is massively popular with voters across party lines.\r\n\r\n\u0022Already this year, drug corporations have raised the price of over 800 prescription medicines by more than 5%.\u0022\r\n\r\nOn Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) submitted 190 pages of legislative text to the chamber\u0026#039;s parliamentarian, an unelected official tasked with opining on whether bill provisions comply with the arcane rules of budget reconciliation—the process Democrats are using to evade GOP opposition and the 60-vote filibuster rule.\r\n\r\nThe new text is in some ways weaker than the drug pricing plan that the House of Representatives passed in November as part of the broader Build Back Better package, which Manchin tanked just a month later. One critical difference, as Reuters points out, is that the new prices negotiated by Medicare under the updated Democratic framework \u0022would not apply to people with private health insurance.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022It would allow the government to negotiate the price of up to 20 drugs, rather than the 250 drugs progressives had sought,\u0022 the outlet added.\r\n\r\nOver the past several weeks, Schumer and Manchin have been engaged in talks to revive certain elements of the Build Back Better package, a centerpiece of President Joe Biden\u0026#039;s domestic agenda. Any new bill, which would include the prescription drug proposal, is expected to be far smaller than the $1.75 trillion package that House Democrats approved last year.\r\n\r\nIn its current form, Senate Democrats\u0026#039; drug pricing plan would cap Medicare Part D enrollees\u0026#039; out-of-pocket prescription medicine costs at $2,000 a year, penalize drug companies that raise prices at a faster rate than inflation, and allow Medicare to \u0022negotiate and, if applicable, renegotiate maximum fair prices\u0022 for a limited number of costly drugs beginning in 2023.\r\n\r\nThe pharmaceutical industry, whose Capitol Hill lobbyists outnumber members of Congress, has aggressively fought such changes as it continues to push up prices for lifesaving medicines. A study published last month in the medical journal JAMA estimated that nearly half of all new brand-name prescription medicines launched in the U.S. in 2020 and 2021 came with an original annual price tag of $150,000 or more.\r\n\r\nIn late May, Manchin tweeted that he supports \u0022allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices,\u0022 prompting Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to respond:\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nFollowing reports last week that Senate Democrats had reached a tentative deal on a proposal to rein in prescription drug prices—which are significantly higher in the U.S. than in other wealthy countries—Margarida Jorge of Lower Drug Prices Now said in a statement that \u0022this is a once-in-a-generation chance for Democrats to finally deliver on their promises to lower drug prices.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022Already this year, drug corporations have raised the price of over 800 prescription medicines by more than 5%. And more increases are expected,\u0022 said Jorge. \u0022Under our current broken system, Americans pay more than twice as much for the same drugs as people in most other countries.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022This compromise will lower prices, cut costs, and stop the drug corporations from raising their prices faster than the rate of inflation,\u0022 Jorge added. \u0022We applaud Senate Democrats for advancing this vital piece of legislation one more step and encourage them to get it over the finish line without delay. The American people can not afford to wait any longer for affordable medicines to take care of themselves and their families.\u0022\r\n\r\nThis story has been updated with additional details on the plan.