U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller introduced legislation Tuesday that he believes will help cut the federal deficit and reduce Medicare Part D drug costs.
The Medicare Drug Savings Act would cut $141.2 billion in spending over the next 10 years, helping reduce the deficit and prevent unnecessary cuts from being made to Medicare benefits.
Rockefeller calls the bill a simple one.
“It makes sure that prescription drug companies do not get more than they are due,” said Rockefeller during a Senate press conference Wednesday.
Ever since Medicare Part D was passed and went into effect in 2006, Rockefeller said pharmaceutical companies have been enjoying a special deal in terms of selling prescription drugs to people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.
“It allows them to charge higher prices for low income beneficiaries prescription drugs than they use to,” said Rockefeller. “This can’t continue. These are the most fragile people.”
Before 2006, both Medicare and Medicaid were given the same negotiated rates for prescription drugs as other programs get. After Medicare Part D went into effect, only Medicaid could get rebates on prescription drugs for participants.
Rockefeller said out of the 9.4 million people who are duel eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, about half of them have an income of just over $7,000.
“These are really poor folks, really old folks, really sick folks and we can help them by making less expensive the prescription drugs that they would have to go out and pay for,” said Rockefeller.
This is where the Medicare Drug Savings Act comes into play. Rockefeller said this piece of legislation just sets it back to the way it was before 2006, when pharmaceuticals still made money.
“They’ll continue to make a lot of money, they won’t lose employees and Medicare beneficiaries duel eligibles will not lose any coverage,” said Rockefeller.
Rockefeller, along with the bills 19 co-sponsors, believe this bill is a win for all parties involved.