Legislation Could Benefit Millions of Seniors on Medicare
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) announced the House of Representatives has approved legislation he cosponsored requiring the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries.
“Something is terribly wrong with a system that watches while drug company profits soar at the expense of senior and disabled Americans struggling to get by financially,” said Congressman Higgins. “This legislation rights that wrong by allowing the government use its collective buying power to negotiate for lower prescription prices for those on Medicare.”
H.R. 4 repeals the current law which prohibits the Secretary of Health and Humans Services from negotiating for lower drug prices and continues to prohibit the HHS Secretary from requiring a particular formulary or limiting access to any prescription medication.
A study conducted by Families USA, a nonprofit advocacy group, recently found that those on Medicare were being charged at least 58 percent more for half of the 20 most prescribed medicines last year than prices paid by the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA already operates under a system which allows for negotiated drug costs.
The bipartisan legislation, approved by the House of Representatives last week, also requires HHS to provide updates every 6 months, so Congress can closely monitor negotiation progress. Following Senate and Presidential approval, new negotiated prices are expected to be included in plans beginning January 2008.