Cantwell Cites Flaws in New Prescription Drug Rules; Calls For Greater Accountability in Drug Pricing
Today U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell issued the following statement, regarding the Bush Administration's release of final rules for its Medicare prescription drug benefit:
"What seniors want most is to see drug prices come down," Sen. Cantwell said. "Seniors might as well have access to the Canadian market if the US Government won't negotiate for discounts on price. For true competition to take place, volume buyers should get discounts and there should be transparency on who really pockets the discount."
The rules issued today by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) set the framework for the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, which will go into effect January 1, 2006. During debate on the Medicare Modernization Act, which created the program, Cantwell sponsored legislation to prevent collusion among drug companies and health plans, and pass the savings on to seniors. Cantwell's anti-collusion provision was adopted by the Senate, but omitted from the final version of the bill signed by President Bush in December 2003. In fact, the final law actually prohibits Medicare from negotiation for lower drug prices for seniors.