May 23 Web Event: Executive Actions to Address Prescription Drug Affordability in the U.S.

U.S. prescription drug spending per person is about double what it is in peer countries and about 8 in 10 U.S. adults say the cost of prescription drugs is unreasonable. With the public ranking lowering out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs the top health care priority for Congress, lawmakers have been debating legislative actions to decrease the price of prescription drugs generally and to address specific public concerns such as out-of-pocket costs for insulin. Drug pricing was a central component of the Build Back Better Act (BBBA), which would have allowed the federal government to negotiate drug prices in Medicare, cap beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket drug spending under Part D, and limit price increases to inflation. The BBBA has passed the House, but similar efforts have been stalled so far in the Senate. That raises the question: What could the Biden Administration do through executive action without Congress to address drug affordability?

On May 23, 2022, a panel of experts joined series moderator Larry Levitt in a 45-minute discussion exploring the drivers of rising drug prices and potential administrative actions to address them. This is the third installment of KFF’s new virtual conversation series, The Health Wonk Shop. The series features conversations with experts, diving into timely health policy issues for a deeper discussion beyond the news headlines and taking questions from viewers over Zoom.


  • Larry Levitt, Executive Vice President for Health Policy, KFF


  • Kirsten Axelsen, Visiting Scholar American Enterprise Institute, Consultant and Secretary Preparedness and Treatment Equity Coalition
  • Richard Frank, Senior Economic Fellow & Director of the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative on Health Policy
  • Rachel Sachs, Professor of Law specializing in drug policy at Washington University in St. Louis

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The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.