California Health Advocates Supports the “Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007” (H.R. 4)

California Health Advocates Supports the “Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007” (H.R. 4)

California Health Advocates (CHA), a non-profit organization dedicated to education and advocacy efforts on behalf of over 4 million California Medicare beneficiaries, supports the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007, which would give the Secretary of Health and Human Services the ability to negotiate lower drug prices with pharmaceutical manufacturers on behalf of all Medicare beneficiaries.

We hear daily from Medicare enrollees and their families throughout California, in rural communities and urban centers, about their heartbreaking struggles to access and afford important medications, even when they have coverage under the new federal Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit. Giving the Medicare program an opportunity to lower these drug costs could help these beneficiaries make ends meet.

Unlike other parts of Medicare, the Part D prescription drug benefit is only available through the purchase of a private, commercial plan. Prospective Part D enrollees must navigate through a tangled web of dozens of private plans, each with its own coverage, prices and rules. California Health Advocates believes that the drug benefit should be available through the Medicare program itself instead of complete reliance on the marketplace. Drug price negotiation is the first step towards allowing the Medicare program itself to offer a prescription drug benefit.

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California Health Advocates is a nonprofit organization dedicated to timely and responsive education and advocacy efforts on behalf of California Medicare beneficiaries and the pre-retirement population. For more information about CHA, call (916) 231-5110 or visit www.cahealthadvocates.org

Karen Fletcher
Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.