United States Senator Rockefeller and U.S. Representative Waxman introduced legislation that would require drug manufacturers to pay rebates for the drugs used by individuals who are dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid and for people receiving the Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy (LIS), Medicare Drug Savings Act (S. 740, H.R. 1588).
Medicare Part D benefit costs are projected to grow at an average annual rate of almost 10 percent through 2021 which will significantly increase the cost burden shouldered by enrollees and taxpayers.
Basically, the legislation proposes to allow the federal government to negotiate Medicare drug prices and require drug companies to restore discounts for low-income individuals for several reasons, including:
- Drug rebates create significant savings for the Medicare program, without shifting costs to beneficiaries.
- Medicare should get the best price for the drugs it purchases for all beneficiaries, especially for those with low incomes.
- Drug manufacturers were prosperous when they paid rebates for drugs used by Medicare-Medicaid dual eligible before passage of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, so restoring the discounts would have a negligible effect on overall drug pricing.
- National polls show that most Americans, across party lines, support allowing the federal government to negotiate with drug companies as a way to bring down the cost of prescription drugs.
At a time when policymakers are seeking ways to lower the federal deficit and overall health care spending, proposals that would reduce Medicare drug costs cannot be overlooked. Allowing the federal government to negotiate for lower Medicare drug prices and restoring discounts for low-income beneficiaries make sense because they save money without shifting costs to beneficiaries and have broad public support.
Although KidneyBuzz.com understands the important need to spend Medicare dollars wisely and to reduce the nation's spending on healthcare generally you should want to ensure that Congress does not simply ask the Kidney Community to pay more or enact harmful cuts to Medicare benefits.
Consequently, KidneyBuzz.com encourages you to support this legislation, which focuses instead on constructively reducing costs, and saving as much as $141 billion over the next 10 years without negatively impacting your Medicare Part D benefits.
You should urge your U.S. Senators and Representatives to support Medicare Drug Savings Act (S. 740, H.R. 1588) by clicking here.