Pearce Defends Choice, Access for Seniors in Medicare Prescription Drug Program

Date: Jan. 12, 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Drugs

Pearce Defends Choice, Access for Seniors in Medicare Prescription Drug Program

U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce today voted to refer H.R. 4, legislation forcing government price controls upon the Medicare prescription drug program, to the normal House committee

process so that the impact of this measure upon this widely successful initiative could be properly debated and considered. In particular, this Motion to Recommit requires any government "negotiations"

concerning the price of prescription drugs under Medicare Part D to ensure that seniors retain the right to obtain the drugs they need from the neighborhood pharmacies. Rep. Pearce voted against

H.R. 4 as offered by the House majority with no opportunity for committee consideration or floor amendment, as this legislation does not protect Medicare Part D beneficiaries from losing access to

medications or pharmacies.

"This legislation requiring ‘negotiations' amounts to government price controls in disguise," Rep. Pearce said. "Price controls mean our seniors won't have access to the medications they need. Given that more than 80% of the program's participants say they're "satisfied" with Medicare Part D; premiums have decreased 40% over the last year; and the total cost of the program in 2006 was 30% less than projections, Congress has no business taking this unnecessary risk with our seniors' health and peace of mind.

"We should always be open to sensible suggestions for reform in any government program as Congress exercises its oversight responsibilities, particularly those measures that can improve service while saving

taxpayer money. As offered by the House majority, H.R. 4 does neither. In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has confirmed that H.R. 4 will not produce significant cost savings.

"Let's get back to work on developing ideas that can truly improve the lives of our seniors."