The value of creating a larger government role in the negotiation of drug prices may be “overstated,” America’s Health Insurance Plans said last week in defending the prescription drug program under Medicare.
Indeed, AHIP said, creating a larger government role in the negotiation of rebates from drug manufacturers that would either compete with or take the place of the private plans that have successfully administered the Part D program “would be problematic.”
The only way it could achieve savings comparable to private plans would be establishing a national formulary akin to a VA-type system, the AHIP statement said.
Moreover, the AHIP statement said, “Part D prescription drug plans are exceeding expectations by offering more comprehensive benefits and lower premiums than originally anticipated.
“Plan sponsors have accomplished this by using tools and techniques to promote quality while holding down costs to beneficiaries, reducing medication errors, and promoting clinically sound drug usage,” the statement added.
AHIP’s comments were submitted to the House Oversight Committee at a hearing.
At the hearing, the panel charged in a report that switching drug coverage for poor seniors from Medicaid–a government run program–to the Medicare Part D program has resulted in “windfall” profits to drug companies and insurers.
The report said “taxpayers are paying far more for drugs under Medicare Part D than they do under Medicaid,” and that, “in effect, Medicare Part D has given the major drug companies a taxpayer-funded windfall worth billions of dollars.”