From: Bill Kadereit, NRLN Vice President, Legislative Affairs
To: NRLN Grassroots Network Advocates
One of the health care initiatives in the National Retiree Legislative Network’s 2007 Legislative Agenda is the passage of the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007. On January 12, 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4, the House version of the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007. The vote was 255 to 170 with 24 Republicans joining 231 Democrats in approving the bill. No Democrats opposed it.
The U.S. Senate has not taken up its version of the bill, S. 250, that was introduced on January 10, 2007 and referred to the Committee on Finance. The NRLN believes it is time for our Grassroots Advocates to write to their U.S. Senators to urge them to support legislation to give the Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to bargain for lower prescription drug prices for Medicare participants. Laws currently prevent Medicare from directly bargaining with pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices.
As you might expect, the pharmaceutical industry is lobbying to kill this bill and airing television commercials against the bill because it would help lower drug prices. We must counter the pharmaceutical industry’s campaign by sending thousands of letters to U. S. Senators.
A sample letter has been posted on the NRLN website at http://capwiz.com/abtr/home with the headline: URGE U.S. SENATORS TO PASS MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICE NEGOTIATION ACT. When you type in your zip code, your Senators will be identified to receive the letter.
If you have a problem accessing the ACTION ALERT through the link above, go to http://www.nrln.org. In the “Take Action Now” paragraph near the top of the NRLN Home Page, click on the “Click Here” link to take you to the Action Alert. If you are interested in reading S. 250, there is a link to the bill that can be accessed from the Legislative Bills – Health Care line on the NRLN Home Page.
Please act now to tell your Senators that it is time to utilize the buying power of the Medicare participants and negotiate the best prices possible for prescription drugs. You are encouraged to personalize your letter by adding comments that let Senators know you live in their state. Also, please share this message with your friends who are not NRLN Grassroots Advocates.
Bill Kadereit, NRLN Vice President, Legislative Affairs