House Democrats Unveil Bill To Target Medicare Part D Rx Drug Costs
Congressional Democrats on Thursday introduced legislation (HR 2190) that would reduce Medicare Part D drug costs, CQ HealthBeat reports.
The bill would require drugmakers to provide prescription rebates to individuals eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid -- so-called "dual eligibles" -- as well as to low-income Medicare beneficiaries. Beginning in 2013, drugmakers also will be required to pay the difference between the average rebate they pay to private drug plans under Medicare Part D and 23.1% of the drug's average price. Additional rebates would be added if prices increase at a faster pace than the rate of inflation.
Drugmakers previously were required to pay such rebates. However, Democrats said the 2003 Medicare prescription drug program law lifted that requirement, dramatically raising prices for the government and profits for manufacturers.
Democrats say the bill also would lower the federal deficit by more than $112 billion over the next 10 years, without resorting to the GOP's Medicare overhaul proposal (Ethridge, CQ HealthBeat, 6/16).
The House-approved GOP FY 2012 budget resolution (H Con Res 34) would alter Medicare from a fee-for-service program to one that would have beneficiaries purchase coverage on the private market (California Healthline, 6/7).
"We need to do everything possible to responsibly reduce our deficit, but we can't do it on the backs of some of our most vulnerable citizens," Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), the bill's sponsor, said (Daly, Modern Healthcare, 6/16). He added that the bill would reduce the deficit by "eliminating drug manufacturer windfalls instead of hurting seniors" (CQ HealthBeat, 6/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.