Battle Over Medicare Drug Benefits Heats Up

June 20, 2000 (Washington) — With congressional action on Medicare medicine medicate benefits hanging in the adjust, Washington is awhirl in sound chomps, spin specialists, and increasingly forceful interest groups.

President Clinton has proposed a plan that would offer prescription sedate insurance as a new benefit of the Medicare program. House Republicans have counterproposed that private safeguards can offer a run of policies to seniors to cover medicine drugs.

On Capitol Hill, several staged events competed for news play Tuesday.

As Republicans appeared some time recently TV cameras to tout their administration on the Medicare issue, House Democrats and their labor allies held a „hearing“ that attacked the GOP drug plan. In the mean time, key Senate Democrats announced a medicate proposition that is essentially more liberal — and costly — than the Republican plan.

On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee plans to vote on corrections to the Republican bundle, with GOP pioneers trusting to pass the measure through the complete House as before long as possible. Notwithstanding of what happens within the House, this issue isn’t likely to be settled until the final days of this session of Congress — on the off chance that at all.

While each party takes potshots at the other’s approach to the issue, sentiment is building against the high costs of drugs and the high profits of sedate companies.

In 21 state capitols across the country Tuesday, administrators announced plans to pass laws to negotiate sharp discounts with sedate companies for pools of uninsured residents — a thrust modeled after enactment ordered in Maine prior this year.

Even those party protesters basic of both the Clinton and GOP plans are pounding at medicate firms. Rep. Tom Coburn, MD, R-Okla., said Tuesday that a Medicare benefit was „the off-base medication“ for seniors. He claimed that the real problem is the pricing of drugs and the need of appropriate competition within the marketplace.

And in a floor speech, Rep. Greg Ganske, MD, R-Iowa, noted that an annual supply of Prilosec (omeprazole), a prevalent acid reflux pharmaceutical, costs $1,455 without discounts. For a widow with a $12,525 yearly wage, which is 150% of the poverty level, fair that one drug would expend well over 10% of her overall budget, Ganske said.

It’s a intense time for pharmaceutical firms, who adamantly contradict both price controls and a Medicare medicate advantage. And drugmakers and some of their allies in the wellbeing industry are doing combating back.

A gather fundamentally supported by the drug companies, Citizens for Better Medicare, has expanded a national TV advertisement campaign that turns the tables on the picture of busloads of seniors looking for lower sedate costs in Canada. The group’s ads claim that Canada’s system has undesirable price controls and proportioning of health services that force patients to bus to the U.S. for some treatments.

The group has too made a difference set up a web location that provides a 10 minute free phone card and other enticements for young Americans to enlist their senior citizens against the Clinton arrange.

The buyer watchdog gather Public Citizen on Tuesday impacted Citizens for Better Medicare as a collection of „shills“ and „seed direct-mail operatives“.

Dan Zielinski, spokesman for Citizens for Superior Medicare, reacts: „This was much ado around nothing. It was just another gathering for them to vilify an industry for not supporting their thought of what is required.“

Anticipate more sound and anger from all quarters whereas the drug talk about continues. „This has been going on a whereas … [but] In a part of ways, it really has as it were just started,“ Zielinski tells WebMD.

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