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New Poll Finds Iowans Favor Drug Price Bargaining by Medicare

February 23, 2007

A new poll shows that 89 percent of Iowans favor letting the government negotiate for lower prescription drug prices. The U.S. Senate is about to take up a measure that would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to use the buying power of Medicare to leverage better deals. AARP state director Bruce Koeppl notes examples of how bargaining works.

"Most companies with their own healthcare plan will bargain with providers. The Veterans Administration has experience bargaining."

Koeppl says drug prices have continued to rise ahead of the rate of inflation, which puts tremendous pressure on Medicare in meeting its obligation to seniors.

"It's something that needs to be discussed and debated and it's important for Iowans' voices to be heard."

Opponents says the plan would short-change drug companies and lead to cuts in research and development of new medications, but advocates say negotiating prices would be an incentive for companies to do more research to compete for Medicare dollars.

Dick Layman/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - IA