HOUSE DEMOCRATS SAY ELIMINATING ‘SWEETHEART DEAL’ WITH BIG PHARMA IS BETTER THAN GOP REFORM OF MEDICARE
By Steven Tavares
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Big Pharma is extracting huge
profits from Medicare Part D by
effectively charging the federal
government more for drugs.
House Democrats, including Rep. Pete Stark believe cost-savings can be wrung out of Medicare instead of taking a flame-throwing to the venerable health contract.
A bill authored by Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), Sander Levin (D-Mich.), John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), George Miller (D-Calif.), and Rob Andrews (D-NJ) and Stark contends over $100 billion in savings can be created by eliminating what they call a “sweetheart deal for brand-name drug manufacturers” derived from the Medicare Part D drug plan pushed by Republicans in 2006.
“Instead of making devastating cuts to programs that help low-income and middle-income Americans, as Republicans keep putting on the table, we should do what every other industrialized country does and ask the pharmaceutical industry, one of the wealthiest in the world, to chip in,” said Stark.
Part D currently allows drug manufacturers to reap larger profits from Medicare by bypassing the payment of large rebates for patients eligible for prescription from both Medicare and Medicaid. According to the legislation, known as “The Medicare Drug Savings Act of 2011” (HR 2190), those rebates would be reinstating along with those for enrollees eligible for low-income benefits.
“This bill shows there are ways to substantially reduce Medicare costs without hurting beneficiaries,” said Levin, the chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means.
The proposed bill can be seen as a response to the plan put forth by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan that would substantially raise payments over the next decade for those now 55 years of age.