April 11, 2007
The Honorable Max Baucus
Chairman, Committee on Finance
United States Senate
511 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Baucus:
It is of extreme importance to all retirees that the "Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007" be voted out of the Senate Committee on Finance and brought to the Senate floor for a vote. While Medicare Part D has provided savings for tens of millions of retirees, the price of many prescription drugs are still far too costly and are continuing to increase at an alarming rate. Therefore, legislation is needed that will make negotiations for lower prices mandatory, and not simply discretionary.
There are several instances when this is particularly imperative, such as when there is a single source for a drug that is without a therapeutic equivalent in the marketplace. To place retirees at the mercy of the pharmaceutical companies when there is only one drug on the market, without requiring negotiations for the pricing of that drug, creates an all too familiar burden on the shoulders of those who can least afford it. In situations such as these, negotiations are the only protection retirees have against skyrocketing prescription drug costs, and they should, and must, be made mandatory. This is particularly true in cases where retirees are stuck in the "doughnut hole," having to buy expensive branded drugs at a time when insurance companies such as Humana and Sierra are either abandoning coverage or raising premiums inordinately to offset the high cost of these drugs.
It is also widely reported that some members of the Senate are threatening to filibuster the bill to prevent it from coming up for a vote. Retirees deserve to have this bill brought to the floor for a vote. America’s seniors should not have to wait any longer for the Senate to pass legislation that will mandate price negotiations for prescription drugs for Medicare participants.
President, National Retiree Legislative Network
U.S. Senate Committee on Finance Members