AARP ad urges Manchin to support Medicare drug negotiation in reconciliation bill

The AARP is launching a multi-million dollar ad campaign across print, radio, cable and TV broadcast networks in West Virginia urging Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to support a reconciliation bill that includes Medicare drug price negotiation.

The ads will start June 22 and run through July 5 in markets across the state. They come as Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is privately trying to negotiate with Manchin to resurrect a budget bill that addresses climate change and lowers prescription drug prices.

The television ad, titled “The Right Thing,” urges Manchin to “keep fighting for lower drug prices.”

“Everybody knows Joe Manchin cares about West Virginians. And he knows too many of us are struggling to pay for our medicine. That’s why he supports letting Medicare negotiate lower drug prices,” the ad says.

Manchin has long supported action to lower drug prices, including price negotiation, and recently spoke at an AARP event in West Virginia to say Democrats must pass drug pricing legislation before the midterm elections. 

But it remains to be seen if he can reach a deal with Democratic leaders on a broader package that would include the drug pricing reforms. 

Drug price negotiation was included in the House-passed version of the Build Back Better legislation, but was dropped from the Senate framework during negotiations. 

Manchin ultimately opposed that version of the bill, effectively killing it. 

Because of Republican opposition, any measure needs all 50 Democrats to support it in order to use the reconciliation process to bypass a GOP filibuster in the Senate. 

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) another key moderate swing vote, has been the greater question mark on drug pricing action, so Democratic leaders will need her on board if they want to pass any sweeping negotiation plan.