DeMint Opposes Government Price Fixing on Prescription Drug Program
Today, Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) voted against S. 3, the Democrat bill to impose government price controls on Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. The 60 vote motion to advance the bill was defeated by a vote of 55-42.
"Once again, some in Congress think Washington knows best and want to take control from seniors and give it to government," said Senator DeMint. "Americans want more freedom, more choice, more control; not less. Private competition has driven down costs and increased choices for seniors. American seniors are enjoying top quality coverage at increasingly lower prices."
Seniors have seen impressive results since the Medicare Part D program was signed into law in December of 2003. The average cost of premiums has dropped from $37 to $22 - a 40 percent reduction. The Medicare Part D program has provided 14 million more beneficiaries with comprehensive drug coverage. And the average drug plan for 2007 now covers 4,300 drugs in its formulary versus 3,800 last year - a 13 percent increase.
In January, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reviewed the Democrat's legislation and determined that it would provide zero savings. CBO determined the government would not be able to negotiate lower prices than what seniors already enjoy under the current prescription drug plans. Additionally, CBO projects under the current program, Medicare will save $387.2 billion from 2007-2016. This is a 32.3 percent drop from projections made only last year. It is estimated that $256 billion of these savings were a result of competition in Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage (MA) programs.
Also, as reported in today's Wall Street Journal, a "new study by the Lewin Group, the health policy consulting firm found that federal insurance programs that impose price controls typically hold down costs by refusing to cover some of the most routinely prescribed medicines for seniors. These include treatments for high cholesterol, arthritis, heartburn and glaucoma."
"Government price controls have never worked, and they could threaten the availability of treatments and drugs our seniors need," said Senator DeMint.