Support Expected for Medicare Changes
Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) said he will support the creation of a government-administered drug plan under the Medicare drug benefit if Democrats win control of Congress in November, the Oakland Tribune reports. The proposed drug plan would negotiate medication prices with pharmaceutical firms as the Department of Veterans Affairs does.
Stark said, "We have to have a vehicle for the [HHS] secretary to purchase the drugs."
Acting CMS Administrator Leslie Norwalk questioned whether a government-run plan could secure lower medication prices than private drug plans under the current system.
If Democrats win a majority of House seats in the Nov. 7 election, Stark would become chair of the health subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee. The Tribune reports that in that position, Stark would support modifications to the 2003 Medicare law.
Stark said that the subcommittee would hold hearings to discuss Medicare but that large-scale changes to the program would be unlikely (Vesely, Oakland Tribune, 10/29).