Sen. Klobuchar rolls out her 2020 campaign agenda

By Jeff Stein | Washington Post

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is running for president on a policy agenda of lowering prescription drug costs, expanded savings accounts to help people save for their educations, and a slew of internet-related policies, including expanding rural broadband and tougher privacy laws, according to aides to the senator.

Klobuchar, who has withheld her support from the more liberal proposals made by Democratic lawmakers, will also push for automatically registering all eligible voters, an overhaul of election security, and committing the United States to the Paris agreement to combat climate change, aides said.

Klobuchar’s campaign announcement was complicated by multiple reports of allegations about her treatment of Senate staff. But she has won praise from more centrist Democrats and even some Republicans on her campaign launch. A report in The Daily Beast on Monday also highlighted Klobuchar’s “tough on crime” approach as a prosecutor from 1999 to 2007 that included an aggressive crackdown on crime.

“[Klobuchar] is very realistic about the difficulties in legislating, and goes out of her way to find bipartisan support for her initiatives,” said Gene Kimmelman, president and CEO of Public Knowledge, a consumer protection advocacy group. “The drawback is that [her policies] are not the headline-catcher, but are often important incremental reform.”

Here’s a look at the policy agenda Klobuchar is hoping will power her to the White House in 2020.

Prescription drug reform. Spending on prescription drugs per person in the United States has ballooned from $90 in 1960 to $1,025 in 2017, according to Kaiser Family Foundation data. Specialty drug costs in the U.S. can be as high as $475,000 or even $800,000. More than half the country believes bringing down prescription drug prices should be a “top priority” for Congress and President Donald Trump, with 72 percent saying pharmaceutical companies have too much influence, according to polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Klobuchar has tried working with Republicans in Congress in an effort to bring prices down. With Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa,, Klobuchar has pushed to allow for the importation of less expensive prescription drugs from Canada, as well as pushing to lift the ban on negotiations for cheaper drugs under Medicare Part D. (Currently, there’s an explicit prohibition preventing the federal government from negotiating for lower prices under the program.)

“Each of these proposals is an important piece of moving the needle on drug prices, though it will take a lot of proposals to make any difference,” said Robin Feldman, a professor of law at UC Hastings who specializes in prescription drug issues. “It’s a good start, but none alone would change what you and I pay at the pharmacy.”

Klobuchar also has legislation that would allow the federal government to block anti-competitive “pay to delay” settlements. Under these agreements, brand name drug producers pay generic drug producers to delay the marketing of their products.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has released a more aggressive plan to combat the high prescription drugs, calling for the government to start producing drugs once they rise above a certain level …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


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