Chamber Warns Against Meddling With Medicare Part D Drug Plan

Thursday, January 11, 2007 - 7:00pm

The United States Chamber of Commerce today voiced its opposition to H.R. 4, the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act, cautioning that government- controlled drug prices will severely reduce competition for prescription drugs and cripple a successful program.

"There's an old saying: 'Don't mess with a good thing,'" said Bruce Josten, Chamber executive vice president for government affairs. "The Part D plan is providing comprehensive drug coverage to 90 percent of the Medicare population, seniors are enjoying substantial savings, and the program is proving far more cost-effective than projected.

"H.R. 4 is unwarranted meddling by the government. Not only will competition take a hit but employers, already struggling to manage skyrocketing health care costs, will face even more obstacles in offering thorough and cost-efficient coverage."

The centerpiece of the bill is the repeal of the non-interference provision of the Medicare Modernization Act, which gives the Secretary of Health and Human Service de facto control to set prescription drug prices. The private market has already proven it can offer substantial cost savings for those enrolled in the program, according to the Chamber. Allowing the government to negotiate prices will rob consumers and beneficiaries of the choice to select the best drug plan for their individual needs.

The Chamber will key vote H.R. 4 for its annual How They Voted congressional scorecard. A copy of the key vote letter sent to Capitol Hill is available online.