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Public Statements

Seniors to Save on Prescriptions: Berkley Votes to Give Federal Government Authority to Negotiate Lower Drug Prices Under Medicare Part D

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Location: Washington, DC


Seniors to Save on Prescriptions: Berkley Votes to Give Federal Government Authority to Negotiate Lower Drug Prices Under Medicare Part D

Congresswoman Shelley Berkley today supported legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that will save older Nevadans money on their prescription drugs by giving the federal government authority to negotiate lower prices for those covered under Medicare Part D.

"I am proud to stand with Nevada seniors by voting to give the federal government authority to negotiate lower prices under Medicare. The Republican provision that outlawed Medicare from bargaining for better prices protected the profits of drug companies and the insurance industry, but it hurt seniors struggling with the high cost of their prescription medicines," said Berkley.

"The equation is quite simple -- allowing the government to negotiate drug prices will lower costs for those covered under Medicare Part D. This has proven true at the VA, which has been negotiating lower drug prices for years. As a result, our veterans are saving money and staying healthy at the same time. As someone who served on the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, I have seen first hand the success of this policy. The VA provides many prescription drugs to our veterans at a price much lower than the cost of the same drugs when offered to seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D. Changing the law and allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices will bring similar savings home to seniors in Las Vegas and all across our nation," said Berkley.

The Berkley-backed legislation will cut the cost of health care and improve access to medicines by requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate with drug companies for lower drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries. The bill provides Medicare broad discretion on how to best implement the negotiating authority and achieve price discounts for Medicare beneficiaries.

The 2003 law that created the prescription drug program included a provision that prohibited Medicare from negotiating with drug companies for lower prices for seniors. The bill passed today by the House repeals this special-interest provision and requires Medicare to engage in cost-saving negotiations. The legislation must still be approved by the Senate and faces a possible veto from the Bush White House.

Berkley noted that the Medicare package authored by Democrats has the support of dozens of organizations including: AARP, National Community Pharmacists Association, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Center for Medicare Advocacy, Medicare Rights Center, Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, Families USA, and Consumers Union.

http://berkley.house.gov/legis/otr/press_releases/2007/pr_2007_0112.html

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