Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Malden), senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and dean of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, this week joined 67 of his Democratic colleagues in the House of Representatives in urging Republican House leaders to include bulk-rate negotiation of prescription drug prices in Medicare as part of any final debt reduction package linked to a vote on raising the debt ceiling. Rep. Markey said that such a move would save the federal government approximately $156 billion over ten years.
"We have a golden opportunity here to lower the cost of prescription medications for Americans in their golden years," said Rep. Markey. "I call on Republicans in Washington to seize this opportunity and save Grandma and Grandma significant sums of their hard-earned money. With seniors facing rising costs elsewhere, it would be unconscionable to pass up the chance to save billions of dollars in medication costs for those who need it."
As Congress debates options for reducing the nation's debt, Rep. Markey called on Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner to allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate prescription drug prices for plans offered under Medicare Part D. Allowing Medicare to use its purchasing power and negotiate with drug companies will "yield significant cost savings for both the federal government and our seniors, while also strengthening Medicare for current and future beneficiaries," write Rep. Markey and the Democratic members in the letter. The 2004 legislation, which created the Medicare Part D prescription drug program, explicitly prohibits the federal government from negotiating bulk rate discounts.