April 18, 2013

Rockefeller Bill Would Save Taxpayers Billions

Senate Bill 740 – the Medicare Drug Savings Act – Provides
Common Sense Solution to High Drug Prices

In a response to the federal government paying unconscionably high drug prices for dual-eligibles on Medicare, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced legislation today to require drug companies to provide discounts for low-income Medicare beneficiaries, as they currently do under Medicaid.  The Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans strongly supports Rockefeller’s legislation which would save taxpayers and Medicare beneficiaries billions of dollars.

After passage of the Medicare prescription drug law in 2003, drug companies received windfalls worth billions of dollars, as a result of no longer applying rebates for dual-eligibles (beneficiaries who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid).  Senator Rockefeller’s 2013 Medicare Drug Savings Act reverts back to previous law and recaptures the savings lost under the Medicare drug law.  By simply returning these beneficiaries to Medicaid-negotiated rebates, taxpayers would save $141.2 billion over the next ten years.

“Drug companies often charge what the market will bear for prescription drugs. This has resulted in Americans paying the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs,” said Jean Friday President of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans. “I remember travelling with fellow retiree activists to Canada over 10 years ago to help retirees get affordable prescription drugs and to highlight the absurdly high prices paid by American seniors vs. our counterparts in other similar nations.  Medicare Part D improved seniors’ access to prescription drugs, but the prices paid by beneficiaries in the program are still not competitive.  It’s time to take this first step toward common sense reforms to ease price-gouging of Medicare beneficiaries and the federal government. By pursuing these savings, we can rein in health care inflation without burdening families with added health care costs or driving up the federal budget deficit.”

The Alliance joins an expansive list of organizations who support SB 740.  Click here to view the Coalition letter of support.

The Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans, led by President Jean Friday of Westmoreland County, has over 300,000 members and 144 local affiliates across the Commonwealth.  PARA’s mission is to educate seniors and the public about retiree issues, and organize seniors to advocate for their interests in Harrisburg and Washington.  To learn more, visit www.pennretiredamericans.org

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