Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bipartisanship at last

Pharma Pricing Top Target for Medicare Cutbacks

In the dog-eat-dog world of federal deficit reduction, there seems to be one health-related spending cut with broad bi-partisan support: require drug companies to give the federal government “a better deal on medications for low-income people on Medicare.” Nearly 70% of respondents back this strategy, according to a survey sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. That’s far more than the mere 32% who want to raise Medicare premiums or the 26% who support a higher Medicare eligibility age (67, up from 65 years).

Most notable is the surprisingly strong bipartisan support for this hit on pharma: 61% of Republicans “strongly favor” this action, as do 77% of Democrats, according to this January poll. Congressional Democrats have been pressing hard to require pharma companies to pay rebates on drugs provided to Medicare “dual eligible” beneficiaries who qualify for assistance from state Medicaid programs and previously received prescription drugs through state plans that collect rebates.


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