Medicare drug program to cost less than projected, government finds

Share this content:

The Medicare prescription drug benefit is estimated to cost 10% less than previously projected for the 10-year period from 2007 to 2016, the Bush administration recently disclosed.

The new price tag of $964 billion represents a 10% decrease from a July 2006 estimate of $1.08 trillion. The lower cost projection is more evidence that there is no need for Congress to pass legislation encouraging the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies under the drug benefit to lower prices, said Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt.

Meanwhile, late last week, AARP pledged its support for the House Democrats' bill that would allow Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices under Part D with drug companies. The powerful senior lobby said the legislation represents "a common sense approach" to lowering drug costs for seniors.