Good For Vets, Good For Medicare

Bill Scher

We’re starting to see more slanted media coverage as the battle over prescription drugs heats up.

Part of the First 100 Hours Agenda is to give our government the power to negotiate drug prices on behalf of Medicare recipients, using the collective bargaining power to drive costs down.

Proponents have noted that our Veterans Administration (VA) already has that negotiating power on behalf of vets, and it works. Why not do the same for Medicare?

Big Pharma — the fat cat pharmaceutical industry — can’t easily oppose cheaper prices, so it’s using flimsy arguments claiming that empowering Medicare can’t work.

Ominously, in recent days we’ve seen pieces in the NY Times, LA Times and Washington Post echoing Big Pharma’s arguments.

In particular, they charge that the Democratic proposal for Medicare won’t work like the VA system. The VA has a restrictive list of the drugs it covers, they say, and it can threaten companies with being taken off the list. And expected Dem legislation won’t include making a similar restrictive list for Medicare.

However, Families USA released a report today that debunks the claim as misleading and oversimplified.

In short, the VA list of covered drugs is not as restrictive as Big Pharma fans claim. Vets have access to drugs not on the list, and the VA’s negotiating drives down prices for those drugs too — lower than what’s currently available under Medicare.

As the First 100 Hours continues, expect more misinformation from our special interest friends, and keep a skeptical eye on the media.

Comments