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From the monthly archives: April, 2007

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'April, 2007'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

National Committee Reaction to Social Security & Medicare Trustees Report

Barbara B. Kennelly, NCPSSM President/CEO says:

“The Medicare funding warning included in this year’s Trustees Report is just the latest of many ticking time bombs hidden in the pages of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. This warning is arbitrary and completely ignores the real challenge facing Medicare, which is the sky-rocketing cost of our nation’s healthcare system.

Arbitrary budget cuts, privatized healthcare plans and industry slush funds are just a few of the MMA provisions which significantly weaken Medicare’s financial outlook. The financing problems Medicare faces can not be solved by dismantling the program. Mandating cuts based on an unrealistic target will hurt beneficiaries and ultimately destroy this vital program.”

The projected dates for when the Social Security and Medicare trust funds will be exhausted have also been pushed back one year. Here is the link for the Social Security Trustees Report.

Part D Drug Prices Soar and So Do Drug Maker Profits

It's really been a good week for drug makers. Not so great for seniors facing high prescription drug bills. Consider this interestesting pair of stories today.

A new report by Families USA shows the prices for drugs in the Part D program are rising at four times the inflation rate. This mirrors earlier findings on what seniors enrolled in Part D are really facing.

Not so coincidentally, the Associated Press reports that first quarter profits for three top pharmaceutical companies showed double-digit jumps. One analyst, Steve Brozac with WBB Securities says, "The demographics lean toward the pharmaceutical industry, no doubt about it."

After this week's Senate negotiation vote it's clear Washington does too.

How Much Money Does It Take To Kill A Bill? Just Ask Pharma…

By Maria Freese, NCPSSM Policy Director

The failure of the Senate to take up S.3 today is another clear sign that the drug lobby still carries a lot of weight in Washington.

So great is their fear of the power of negotiations, drug companies and their allies pulled out all the stops to deep-six a bill that barely scratched the surface of improvements that need to be made to the Part D drug program. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent on advertising and lobbying to kill a bill that does nothing more than repeal the current prohibition against Medicare negotiating with drug companies to get the best price for seniors. Since the Secretary has already said he will not exercise negotiating authority even if it is given to him, one has to wonder exactly why the drug companies are so afraid that they wouldn’t even allow the bill to come up for debate.

A profit-making enterprise doesn’t spend that kind of money unless a lot more is at stake – billions of dollars that come from the pockets of every single senior who has signed up for a drug plan. Seniors understand what’s at stake in this debate. They cast their votes in November against the status-quo, business as usual, business comes first thinking that says industry profits are more important than what’s best for American citizens and taxpayers.

A vast majority of voters want negotiation…a majority of the Senate does too. Unfortunately today, millions of dollars spent by the drug industry seemed to matter more.

Want to know how your Senator voted? Here’s a link to the final vote count. But don't be surprised to see Majority Leader Harry Reid's vote listed as "No" He switched his vote at the end as a procedural move to allow possible future consideration of S.3. Something our 4 million members and supporters will be working hard to ensure happens.

It's True, The Senate Did Make the Same Mistake...Twice

Hard to believe but it's true. The Senate won't even debate allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices. Senate Republicans blocked this critical vote showing once again that Drug Industry lobbying trumps seniors' needs. Following is a statement from our President/CEO, Barbara Kennelly.



“The vast majority of Americans want Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices. Seniors and their families know there is no logical reason the federal government should be prohibited from negotiating with drug makers except to preserve industry profits. Part D is legislation written by and for industry and drug makers have spent millions ensuring it will remain so. Senators were given a chance to correct their mistake and put seniors’ needs ahead of corporate profits. Unfortunately today, they made the same mistake twice and American seniors will continue to pay the price"

The National Committee and its 4 million members and supporters will continue to push Congress to make desperately needed reforms to the flawed Part D legislation. More than 200-thousand letters will go to Capitol Hill this week reminding lawmakers that this debate is not over and seniors will continue to fight for a prescription drug plan that works for its beneficiaries.

Will the Senate Make the Same Mistake...Twice?

The Senate is debating the Part D Drug Negotiation bill, S.3, this morning. Chances are there won't even be a vote on this legislation because the GOP has threatened to block a full debate and vote. What a shame.

The Senate has a chance to fix a mistake made in the first Part D legislation which ties Medicares hands and prohibits negotiation for lower prices on prescription drugs. This is legislation written by industry and for industry and drug makers have spent millions making sure it stays that way.

We'll have more as the morning business continues.

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