Obama, Tommy Thompson Pitch Health Care Proposals
Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Saturday in Iowa said that his prescription drug proposal could save Medicare beneficiaries an estimated $157 billion over the next 10 years, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The proposal would allow the federal government to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies on prices for medications under the Medicare prescription drug benefit, a practice banned by the 2003 Medicare law.
"There is no reason for this other than the fact it makes the drug companies more money," Obama said, adding, "It's wrong that Americans have to spend more for their prescriptions because drug companies can spend billions on lobbying."
In addition, the proposal would allow U.S. residents to purchase medications from Canada and other industrialized nations and increase the use of generic treatments in public health care programs (Lorentzen, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 6/16).
In other election news, presidential candidate Tommy Thompson (R), a former Wisconsin governor and HHS secretary, on Friday at a seminar in Minnesota discussed the need for universal health insurance in the U.S., the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
At the seminar, sponsored by Deloitte, Thompson and other health care experts said that universal health insurance is an economic and moral necessity.
Domestic health care spending by U.S. employers totals $2 trillion annually and will double to $4 trillion, or 21% of gross domestic product, by 2014, Thompson said, adding, "Companies can't compete on a level playing field (in the world economy) if that happens" (Phelps, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 6/15).