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View Diary: My view of chained CPI at age 67 (48 comments)

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  •  Medicare (HHS) does not have the power... (6+ / 0-)

    ...to negotiate prescription drug costs. If it did, costs for everyone would be lower.

    I worked for HHS, for the branch that audits Medicare, and believe me, I've seen the projections of how much money it would save. But Big Pharma has too hard a grip on Congress for that change to pass.

    •  They (3+ / 0-)

      actually passed a special law with the fiscal cliff deal.  Stuck it in there at the last minute.  

      The Times story described how Amgen got a huge hidden gift from unnamed members of Congress and their staffers. They slipped an eleventh hour loophole into the New Year's Eve deal that kept the government from going over the fiscal cliff. When the sun rose in the morning, there it was, a richly embroidered loophole for Amgen that will cost taxpayers a cool half a billion dollars.

      Amgen is the world's largest biotechnology firm, a drug maker that sells a variety of medications. The little clause secretly sneaked into the fiscal cliff bill gives the company two more years of relief from Medicare cost controls for certain drugs used by patients who are on kidney dialysis, including a pill called Sensipar, manufactured by Amgen.

      The provision didn't mention Amgen by name, but according to reporters Lipton and Sack, the news that it had been tucked into the fiscal cliff deal "was so welcome, that the company's chief executive quickly relayed it to investment analysts." Tipping them off, it would seem, to a jackpot in the making.Foul Play in the Senate  by Bill Moyers

      •  Ok I can see where the confusion arose -- (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        musiccitymollie, Lava20

        Medicare has a program for those suffering End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), and yes they do negotiate some drug costs for that one program.

        The area where Medicare can't negotiate costs involves the Medicare Part D program, which affects all senior citizens on Medicare -- something which gets Big Pharma way more money than ESRD does.

        •  Exactly. (0+ / 0-)

          Part D is the only program public or private that does not negotiate with vendors or providers.  I should have made my little rant more articulate.

          Must disagree with you on the ESRD point though.  This law basically writes a special check for billions of dollars.  Let me explain.

          My father is on dialysis.  Even though he was already on Medicare I had to do specific paperwork turning down the ESRD because he has private insurance with United Healthcare.  See here's the beauty of this for these douchebags.

          Captive audience.  Even if he did not qualify for regular Medicare, once you have ESRD requiring dialysis or a transplant, Medicare becomes primary.  So private insurance takes no loss.  You have clients who are a captive audience and a set amount for medicine that they would normally have to reduce cost for.

          Private insurance has no risk.  The chemical is dirt cheap, and there will never be a generic alternative.  All for the low low cost of 79 lobbyists.  And McConnell and his brothers in evil greedy arms have opened the gate for everyone else to follow suit.  

          This little law.  That little sneaky paragraph pisses me off so very much.  I don't know how you could stay sane doing your audits, Moonspinner.  Thank you for your hard work with HHS.  I don't think people truly understand how much work goes into making Medicare and Social Security work so well..

          I remember taking my uncle to pick up his prescriptions at the VA.  My Dad can only get his Medicare inhaler filled with the non-generic Pro-Air.  The VA gives my uncle Ventolin or just just a something maked "albuterol."  Same exact thing, but my father and Medicare has to pay for the Name brand version.  No negotiation.  

          Sorry for the rant.  You know all this.

          •  I got to type the audit reports... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lava20

            ...but the auditors would explain anything to me that I was curious about.

            Damn -- I hadn't realized that created a captive audience -- but I haven't had to deal with the service end of Medicare yet.

            My Mom is on Medicare, and I'm just beginning to learn how weird it is, and that I pay less for some of my meds than she does on similar drugs.

            •  Think (0+ / 0-)

              about it.  My Dad and uncle get the same damn inhalers.  One for Part D is completely overpriced retail.  The other is VA negotiated.

              Federal Government is paying in the end.  But with part D this corporate welfare splits this huge profit margin between Big Pharma and the Private Insurance companies.  Still not sure why the insurance companies are even fucking involved other than to pure capitalism.  Part D could use the same fucking thing the VA does.  They share the same databases.

      •  Great catch! Thanks, Lava20. ;-) N/T (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lava20

        Mollie

        "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        hiddennplainsight

        by musiccitymollie on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:05:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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