Congressional Corner: New Rx Drug Bill Aimed at Saving Seniors Money

Congressional Corner: New Rx Drug Bill Aimed at Saving Seniors Money

By Representative Patrick Murphy (PA)
Within the first 100 hours of being sworn in I was proud to fulfill a campaign promise by voting to make bulk purchasing for prescription drugs for Medicare Part D a reality.  I did so by voting for a bipartisan bill that requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to directly negotiate with drug companies for the lowest possible prescription drug prices.  This bill, of which I am a proud co-sponsor, corrects a major flaw in Part D's design while still protecting seniors' access to vital and life-saving prescription drugs.   I am also proud to report that this bill passed with the support of two dozen of my Republican colleagues in addition to the Democratic support it received.

The bill puts forward a very common sense policy: use the bulk purchasing power of the federal government to make sure that seniors get the best prices for the prescription drugs they need.  Already, big box stores like Costco are able to negotiate lower prices from their suppliers due to the large quantity of goods that they purchase.  Imagine if the federal government started negotiating too.

I know that when my wife Jenni and I are buying diapers for our newborn baby Maggie, or dog food for our yellow lab Chloe, we always buy in bulk because it's cheaper.  The same is true for prescription drugs.  Already, each of the 50 states, big companies, and large pharmacy chains use their bargaining clout to get lower drug prices for the patients they represent.  The federal government should be able to do the same thing for seniors on Medicare.

The best part of my job is making sure that people in Pennsylvania's 8th District are being represented at the bargaining table.  Recently, a senior contacted my office because Medicare Advantage plan premiums were being withdrawn from her bank account even though she was no longer enrolled in the program.  We contacted Medicare and we were able to have this money refunded to her account.  Seniors across our district and across the country face small battles like this on a daily basis.  My office can and should be a place where people turn if they have a problem cutting through the red tape of federal government.  For those who live on a limited income, as many seniors do, my office can help you deal with agencies like Medicare and help you get the results you need.

I will always keep the needs of seniors in mind as I work on behalf of our community and our nation.

Representative Patrick Murphy represents Pennsylvania's Eighth Congressional District, which includes all of Bucks County and parts of Montgomery County and Philadelphia.

August 2007