PETER’S VISION: HEALTHCARE
Non-negotiable: The pursuit of happiness requires access to stable, affordable healthcare.
Access to healthcare provides the freedom that lets entrepreneurs take big leaps and innovators chase their dreams. It lets seniors enjoy their retirement without the daily stress of wondering how they’ll pay their medical bills. It lets families budget for college or a new home without fearing spikes in rates or medical bankruptcy. An America with affordable healthcare for all is a more dynamic, more vibrant America. Small businesses would have more opportunities to weather the storm or expand. People would have more freedom to take the risks necessary to move this country forward.
Too many drug prices reflect corporate lobbying power, not the true price of producing a drug. Patents allow drug companies to recoup the costs of developing a drug and make a profit that incentivizes development. But once the patent runs out, the drug should cost whatever it takes to make it.
Allow the Government to Manufacture Generic Drugs
Negotiate the Price of Prescription Drugs
Cap Price Increases for Medicare Part D and Eliminate Co-Pays for Low-Income Members
Under this proposal, the government would be able to manufacture generic drugs and sell them at cost if there is no generic producer, or if there are one or two producers that are charging an excessive price.
Under this proposal, the Secretary of Health and Human Services would be required to negotiate prescription drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.
In this plan, prescription drug costs would rise roughly in line with social security benefits, restricted to the rate of inflation. In addition, low-income seniors would be provided relief from co-pays on the 90% of prescription drugs that are generic.
SOME SPECIFICS ON THE PLANS:
- Government Manufacturing of Generic Drugs:
- Patents allow companies to make exclusive profit on a drug for a certain amount of time, after which anyone can make the drug generically by anyone. 90% of drugs on the market fall into this generic category.
- Advocates say that government manufacturing would help regular Americans save money on generic drugs when one manufacturer is charging too much. The generic option, where there is none, would fill shortages without impacting innovation.
- Critics think that government manufacturing would be inefficient, dangerous, and potentially less safe than what can be done by the private sector.
- Price Negotiation:
- Currently, insurance companies, the VA, and Medicaid already negotiate with companies on the prices paid for drugs. Providing the Secretary the ability to do this for Medicare would save, by one estimate, $345 million. These savings would be passed along to taxpayers and seniors, and end the unchecked giveaway drug companies currently receive.
- Critics worry that reducing the profits of drug companies would inhibit innovation. The Congressional Budget Office advised that this could result in a 4% decrease in the number of drugs coming to market over 10 years.
- Price Caps and Co-Pay Elimination:
- Rising prescription drug prices are a burden on many Americans. Seniors, especially, must figure out how to pay more for prescriptions on a fixed income. Advocates say that small measures like this protect seniors from big price changes that might ruin their budgets, providing targeted relief for seniors with limited means.
- Critics of this plan say that price tampering interferes with the market and worry about the costs of covering the co-pays for low-income seniors.