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Rx Drugs

February 25, 2002 | Daily News

In an unprecedented move, AARP will soon ask Congress to dip into the Medicare Trust Fund to finance a $700 billion Medicare reform bill that would mostly pay for a comprehensive prescription drug benefit, according to an AARP source.

AARP is preparing a letter to both the House and Senate budget committees that will propose taking $350 billion from general revenue and $350 billion from the Medicare Trust Fund, according to the source. The letters will likely be sent this week.

February 20, 2002 | Daily News

A key Senate player in the Medicare prescription drug debate is pursuing increased usage of generic drugs to help cut the cost of a comprehensive drug benefit. Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV) is examining the potential savings through generics in a bid to save money and increase the chances of enacting a drug benefit this year.

February 20, 2002 | Daily News

Legislation that would deal with all aspects of Medicare reform, including a prescription drug benefit as well as numerous other Medicare reform language, has a "good chance" of passing by "early summer," according to a GOP source.

February 19, 2002 | Daily News

A powerful Senate Democrat last week accused the Bush administration of "cooking the books" on its new Medicare funding request, criticizing Bush's proposed budget for lacking enough money for a prescription drug benefit and provider payment adjustments.

February 15, 2002 | Daily News

A yet-to-be-released congressional document estimates that the provider payment recommendations recently issued by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) would cost $174 billion over 10 years. This high price tag is significant because it will force Congress and the administration to pick and choose which MedPAC recommendations to implement in 2002.

February 14, 2002 | Daily News

The recently announced breakup of Merck-Medco has caught the attention of top policymakers on Capitol Hill, who say the failed marriage of the pharmaceutical giant and the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) could be a significant blow to the House's attempt to pass a prescription drug bill this year. Merck-Medco's endorsement of the House drug bill in the 106th Congress was crucial to the measure's success in the chamber, sources note.

February 13, 2002 | Daily News

Two senators have changed their minds and now will not send letters chastising the head of a major pharmaceutical trade group who speculated the senators were close to endorsing the tripartisan Medicare reform plan.

Last month, Pharmaceutical and Research Manufacturers of America President Alan Holmer told reporters that Sens. Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) were possibly set to endorse the tripartisan Medicare reform plan that is favored by the White House (Inside CMS, Jan. 31, p1).

February 13, 2002 | Daily News

Building momentum for a significant role for generic drugs in this year's prescription drug debate, a top White House policy advisor said Feb. 13 that generics drugs are a good substitute for costly pharmaceuticals.

After delivering a speech to AARP's board of directors, White House health care advisor Mark McClellan suggested that policymakers should discuss the use of generic drugs as they attempt to craft a comprehensive drug benefit bill. "Frankly," McClellan told Inside CMS, "generics are a good substitute for costly drugs."

February 12, 2002 | Daily News

In what could signal a significant policy shift, a key Senate Democrat said today that a prescription drug benefit should be packaged with other Medicare reforms that would help finance comprehensive drug coverage. The lawmaker also indicated his opposition to "sunsetting" a prescription drug benefit, an idea floated last year by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA).

February 11, 2002 | Daily News

President Bush Feb. 11 touted the tripartisan Medicare reform plan that is expected to be formally introduced in the Senate later this month. While not formally endorsing the tripartisan proposal, Bush's statements are significant because they insinuate the White House clearly favors the plan that has attracted the support of Sens. John Breaux (D-LA), James Jeffords (I-VT), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

February 07, 2002 | Daily News

The Democratic-controlled Senate may seek to trump House Speaker Dennis Hastert's (R-IL) recent call for a $300 billion Medicare reform bill by calling for more funds to be devoted to a prescription drug benefit, according to congressional sources.

February 06, 2002 | Daily News

Lawmakers of both parties and beneficiary groups are reacting with skepticism to the administration's proposal to reform Medicare and craft a comprehensive prescription drug program with a net of $190 billion. Congress is expected to significantly increase this figure as lawmakers are calling for at least $300 billion for a drug benefit.

The administration has floated its $190 billion proposal recently and has laid out its plans for Medicare reform, a discount card and prescription drug coverage in a Jan. 28 White House fact sheet.

February 06, 2002 | Daily News

AARP, which has been criticized in the past for not taking a firm stance on various prescription drug bills, is vowing to be more vocal this year and might endorse specific bills.

February 06, 2002 | Daily News

drugalert

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A new bipartisan prescription drug bill has been introduced in the House but Republicans and conservative Democrats are not embracing the measure.

February 06, 2002 | Daily News

White House officials are looking to the states to help control government reimbursement for prescription drugs, according to an administration official. This strategy shows that the Bush administration is more confident that it can make more progress on drug pricing issues in the states instead of attempting to set new pricing policies in Washington.

February 06, 2002 | Daily News

In a major development, a powerful House GOP lawmaker is demanding that the Bush administration quickly provide Congress with many more details on the Medicare policies outlined in the president's fiscal year 2003 budget request. HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson has agreed to comply with the request, signaling that the White House will unveil new plans on the government's policy regarding reimbursements to providers.

February 04, 2002 | Daily News

In a preview of the political roadblocks ahead, top House Republican and Democrat health care aides are divided over the coupling of a Medicare prescription drug benefit with wider Medicare reform measures in 2002. The policy rift, compounded by budget constraints and election-year politics, puts passage of a drug benefit on shaky ground just days into the new congressional session.

February 04, 2002 | Daily News

After failing to convince Congress to pass legislation on its prescription drug discount card plan, the Bush administration has shifted its political strategy on the issue by halting all lobbying efforts until the courts have ruled on a pending legal challenge by pharmacy groups.

February 04, 2002 | Daily News

In what could be a promising sign for the Bush administration, a powerful Senate Democrat has not closed the door on President Bush's controversial Medicare prescription drug discount card plan.

February 04, 2002 | Daily News

House Democrats see generic drugs as a key issue in both upcoming legislation on pharmaceutical drug user-fee reauthorization and Medicare. Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce, health subcommittee, said Democrats will consider attaching Hatch-Waxman drug patent reforms to the reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), but the party may also decide to tackle the reforms through other legislation such as the Greater Access for Affordable Pharmaceuticals (GAPP) Act or compulsory licensing.

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