Democrats propose overhaul of Medicare prescription drug benefit
Congressional Democrats have suggested a plan to alter the prescription drug benefit so beneficiaries do not have to pay for drugs during coverage gaps.The proposal, which they introduced Tuesday, would allow the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. The measure also allows beneficiaries to choose a drug plan administered by the federal government rather than by a private insurer.
Money saved through negotiated drug prices would be used to eliminate the drug benefit's so-called "doughnut hole," proposal supporters say. This term refers to the gap in coverage under which beneficiaries pay for 100% of drug costs between $2,250 and $5,100. CMS Administrator Mark McClellan said he doubts that the government could negotiate better prices than drug plans.