Thursday letters: Reforms would help seniors, save billions

October 17, 2013 

Why are some in Congress talking about Medicare cuts while billions of dollars over the next decade can be saved on prescription drugs by putting Medicare drugs out to bid, as the Veterans Administration does, allowing importation and re-importation of safe prescription drugs and banning pay for delay of generic drugs.

There seems to be widespread, even bipartisan support in Congress for doing so, despite the huge campaign donations to both parties and more than 1,000 lobbyists employed by the pharmaceutical industry. Three items are especially important:

The Medicare Prescription Drug Negotiation Act of 2013 (S.117 and H.R. 1102) would direct Health and Human Services to negotiate with drug companies the prices that may be charged to Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage. This would mean more affordable prescription drugs for seniors and would save Medicare tens of billions of dollars over the next 10 years.

The Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act (S. 214) would put an end to brand-name drug firms using pay-for-delay agreements to keep generic equivalents off the market.

Congress also needs to allow the importation and re-importation of safe prescription drugs from other countries, where they cost 35 percent to 50 percent less than in the United States.

We need to see some action in these three areas. All these bills are deficit-neutral and provide savings to the government; surely even our polarized do-nothing Congress can agree on passing such legislation.

Mike Cronin

S.C. Leader

National Retiree Legislative Network

Surfside Beach

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