Friday, January 12, 2007

AARP Is Right

Congressional Republicans made a big mistake, in my opinion, when they decided not to use the huge purchasing power of the federal government in the senior citizen drug program they enacted.

Democrats argued that would be logical.

The American Association of Retired Persons (open to membership to anyone 50 and over) ran a full page ad in Sunday’s edition of the Chicago Sun-Times

The headline is

"Medicare has 43 million members. And zero bargaining power when it some to prescription drug prices"
A credible argument can be made that AARP is pretty much an arm of the Democratic Party, but even the Democratic Party is right once in a while.

Illinois has long utilized the savings produced by bulk purchasing for state government and, if they desire to piggy-back, local governments.

= = = = =
Did Skinner really say the Democrats are right? What else might he be saying at McHenry County Blog?


Bridget 9:00 AM  

The AARP is not a wing of the Democratic Party. They are an interest group, PERIOD. It just so happens that the Democratic Party is frequently on the right side of seniors' issues, not the other way around. So are you going to make the argument that the Democratic Party is a wing of the AARP?

Anonymous,  11:37 AM  

So when AARP head Bill Novelli was writing the forward to Newt Gingrich's book, or lending the name of the AARP to this GOP drug debacle, exactly which interest of the Democratic Party was he serving?

Anonymous,  3:57 PM  

THE GOP PLAN IS NOT is designed to be a service for the recipients, as a government run program would have been, but rather that it IS DESIGNED to profit pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies.

It's all about dollars and cents and "market forces" are acting to make it a failure and money loser for the bug businesses it was supposed to make profitable.

Anonymous,  8:51 AM  

Isn't there some type of escape clause in the current bill which benefits the pharmaceutical companies (so the Dems will receive campaign contributions from them).

Something about more expensive drugs staying on the formulary of meds the
govt will pay for even if they have not
been negotiated.

The Dems are really just as culpable as the Repubs for drug prices and continue to be.

Milton 9:59 AM  

The drug companies were able to insert a provision that forbids the federal government to buy drugs in bulk at a negotiated price. And by dividing the purchasing power among hundreds of insurance companies, each with far less clout than the government, they can reap higher prices for their products.

The insurance companies, meanwhile, got their piece of the action. They manage the drug benefits. And because their plans can come with different premiums, deductibles and co-payments—and offer different lists of drugs, which the insurers can change—beneficiaries have no way to effectively compare the options. There’s profit in confusion.

Republicans in government did well, too. Rep. Billy Tauzin was the Louisiana Republican who drew up the legislation. Immediately after passage, he left Congress to work for the drug lobbyists. His job at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America pays an estimated $3 million a year. Thomas Scully, Bush’s point man on the drug bill, beat Tauzin through the revolving door, and joined a law firm that lobbies for drug companies.

The Republicans who ran Washington until a few days ago had been incapable of either designing a rational program or implementing it. And for all their talk of being the party of national security, you wonder how they would handle an unexpected terrorist attack when they can’t even organize a drug plan with more than a year’s lead time.

The situation is even more sad and sick for low-income Medicaid patients, whose drug needs are now supposed to be met by Medicare. Some are being charged $30 for a prescription they’re supposed to get for $3.

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