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Public Statements

Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICE NEGOTIATION ACT OF 2007 -- (House of Representatives - January 12, 2007)

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Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I am astonished today. It is only government interference when the little guy gets some help from the government. It is not government interference when corporations get subsidies and royalties from taxpayers. That is a different story. Well, it is a different story after November 7.

This legislation will require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower drug prices on behalf of those who enroll in the Medicare prescription drug plans. The current Medicare prescription drug law explicitly prohibits the Secretary from using the market power. The former Secretary wished he had it, under the Bush administration, this power for the 43 million beneficiaries. This power is splintered now among numerous private plans, and we have headed down the slippery slope of privatization of what were guaranteed benefits at one time.

The prices charged by Medicare plans are rising more than twice the rate of overall inflation, and many beneficiaries are seeing substantial premium increases, some as much as six-fold.

During the first 6 months of the program, the price for brand-name drugs rose 6.3 percent. For an average senior who relies on four drugs a day, this translates into an increase of 30 percent in prescription drug therapy for 1 year.

The simple fact is that part D is doing nothing to truly control the high cost of prescription drugs. In the past year, the average price of 20 top-selling prescription drugs rose 3.8 percent. Following suit, the average private plan price increased 3.7 percent. That means even with part D, Medicare beneficiaries still foot the entire bill for escalating drug prices.

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