New Health Care Cost Info Spells Trouble for Imperiled Dem Congressman

Democratic Rep. Scott Peters, who represents the swingy San Diego area of California, is one of the Golden State’s few endangered Democrats heading into the 2018 midterm elections.


And it just so happens that some new, and very bad, information about rising health care costs has emerged– information that could make his re-election tougher than it would otherwise be.

HIV/AIDS Advocates from AIDS Healthcare Foundation protest in front of Congressman Scott Peters office on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017 in San Diego, against Peters co-authoring legislation negatively impacting the 340B discounted drug program. (Sandy Huffaker/AP Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation)

Here’s the scoop: According to Axios, in the last 14 months, the price of 20 prescription drugs has gone up more than 200 percent. Yes, you read that correctly.

And the price of the most-prescribed drug in the world, Humira, has gone up 19 percent. Again, you read that correctly.

It’s fair to say that Americans’ take-home pay, even with the tax reform bill having passed, has not increased 19 percent, let along 200 percent (don’t we all wish).

And at the same time as health care costs, including those of prescription drugs whose pricing helps fuel higher insurance premiums and deductibles, have continued spiking, guess what legislation Peters has attached his name to? That’s right: Legislation that would curtail a drug discount program, and which is heavily backed by Big Pharma, who are the ones hiking the prices and who don’t like discounts (the rest of us do).


Peters, as noted here before, is a backer of legislation to limit a non-taxpayer-funded drug discount program called 340B, under which drugmakers agreed to discount the price of their medications for less well-off patients in exchange for getting access to the massive pool of entitlement money that Big Pharma has helped swell by backing Medicare Part D and Obamacare. Peters is also, not coincidentally, a huge recipient of Big Pharma donations.

Peters seems to think this is a way of showing that he’s a “conservaDem,” but seems not to have noticed that a bunch of his own base voters are super-pissed at him over it, and that a bunch of Republicans (and fellow Democrats) are defending the 340B program as is. That makes Peters look more like a tool of Big Pharma than San Diego’s equivalent of, say, Bill Richardson (or substitute the name of another legitimately moderate Democrat with decent fiscal ratings).

Will this work out for Peters? Maybe. Most political forecasters currently see it as more likely that Democrats will re-take the House than that Republicans will hold it. If that transpires, it’s unlikely that Peters will lose his seat to a Republican while California Republicans all around him are dropping like flies.


Nonetheless, he could be setting himself up to be the next Democrat taken down in a primary not because he’s too “moderate,” but rather because he looks like too much of a sell-out to an industry that is increasingly hated by Democrats and Republicans alike.


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