Las Vegas Sun

October 31, 2014

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Sun editorial:

Lowering Medicare costs

Bill would allow seniors, government to save money under prescription drug program

Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, is the latest in a long line of congressmen from his party to make bogus arguments against proposed health care reform.

Last week Camp received a four-page letter from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office detailing its preliminary analysis of the proposed America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, a House bill backed by Democrats that would make major changes to the prescription drug benefit under Part D of Medicare. One of the biggest changes would be the elimination of costly “doughnut hole” gaps in Medicare drug plans.

The CBO concluded that the legislation would, on average, reduce Medicare beneficiaries’ overall prescription drug spending. The CBO also estimated that the bill would save the federal government $30 billion over the next 10 years under the Part D program for seniors.

Camp, in full misinformation mode, responded with a statement quoting the CBO as saying the bill would increase premiums for Part D recipients. What he failed to acknowledge was the next sentence of the CBO letter stating that overall prescription drug spending would decline, even with the increase in premiums.

The CBO went on to explain that the overall decrease in drug spending would result from seniors receiving “greater protection against incurring high drug costs.”

Unlike Camp, Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., obviously took the time to digest the complete findings. Miller, chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, said: “This CBO score confirms that our reforms will make prescription drug costs more affordable for seniors — and that drug companies can no longer reap enormous profits at their expense.”

Camp said he is interested in saving seniors money, but he has a funny way of showing it. He ignores the CBO’s objective analysis that the bill not only would help seniors, but also would save the government billions of dollars.

Who in their right mind would be opposed to that?

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