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                Opinion
                Mark Dayton: A good deal for seniors-Pioneer Press

                08.18.2009 – Updated: 08/12/2009 08:52:16 AM CDT
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                Mark Dayton                                                                                How drug co
                                                                                                           senior citizens
                Published Wednesday August 12, 2009

                                                                                                           News Facts
                Public pressure may be forcing the Obama administration to back off its deal                 2003 law pr
                allowing drug companies to continue ripping off billions of Medicare dollars at senior       administrato
                citizens' and taxpayers' expense.                                                            prices for pr
                                                                                                             Medicare pa
                It began in 2003, when Congress expanded Medicare to provide prescription drug              thirds of all

                coverage for seniors. At the last minute, behind closed doors, the conference                nationwide,
                                                                                                             citizens and
                committee added a new provision, not previously considered by either the House or
                                                                                                             $85 billion e
                the Senate. It prohibited Medicare's administrators from negotiating lower prices for
                                                                                                             To their cre
                prescription drugs. Instead, Medicare was required to pay whatever prices seniors
                                                                                                             U.S. House
                were charged for their medicines by the various insurance plans.
                                                                                                             recently stri
                                                                                                             of their Medi
                Being forbidden from negotiating lower prices and thus saving money is so                    which woul
                nonsensical that it's hard to find a comparable example in the real world. So, I'll have     citizens pay
                to make one up. Suppose a law were passed that, since this newspaper publishes               lower the pr

                opinion columns, it must accept mine and pay me $2,000 for it. No negotiation               taxpayers.

                allowed.
                                                                                                             Now is the ti
                                                                                                             on, by conta
                That is obviously absurd. Unfortunately, in Washington, absurd practices benefiting
                                                                                                             House or m
                powerful special interests far too often become laws. And since Medicare pays for all
                                                                                                            them: "No de
                or part of two-thirds of all prescriptions nationwide, this absurdity costs senior           Any new he
                citizens and taxpayers an additional $85 billion every year.                                 what most o
                                                                                                            their campai
                When the Obama administration sought political support and cost-saving                       negotiate lo
                concessions from the drug companies, their principal lobbyist proposed a deal. The           prices, whic

                pharmaceutical                                                                               prices for all

                industry would promise to find $80 billion in "savings" over the next 10 years to help
                                                                                                           Resource Li
                pay for the president's health care reform and would support it if he would protect its
                                                                                                           Mark Dayton
                existing Medicare gravy train.                                                             seniors


                Unbelievably, a top presidential aide reportedly agreed to that deal, supposedly as a      Tags
                                                                                                           health care r
                necessary price for overall health care reform.
                                                                                                           prescription
                                                                                                           governor 20
                That agreement reveals the awful truth I saw too often in Washington deal-making:
                                                                                                           policy, healt
                the best interests of the American people come last. The first hogs at the huge
                                                                                                           medicare
                health care trough are the insurance and drug companies. Their profiteering is the
                number one reason that good health care is unaffordable for increasing numbers of
                Americans. Yet they have the political and financial power in Washington to defeat
                change that is against their interests, even if that change would benefit the American
people.


To their credit, three committees in the U.S. House of Representatives recently
stripped the drug companies of their Medicare price protection, which would reduce
the prices senior citizens pay for their medicines and lower the program's costs to
American taxpayers.


Their actions, which were clearly in the American people's best interests, prompted
the drug industry's dash to the White House to negotiate its "deal," which would have
required President Obama to reverse his campaign promise.


Since the deal was reported, public outcries and objections from principled
members of Congress have apparently forced the White House to renounce it.


Now is the time to keep that pressure on, by contacting either the White House or
members of Congress. Tell them: "No deals" with drug companies.


Any new health care law must include what most of them promised during their
campaigns: allow Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices, which would
lead to lower prices for all of us.


That would be a very good deal.


Mark Dayton is a Democrat who served in the U.S. Senate from 2001 to 2007. He is
a candidate for governor of Minnesota in 2010.




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About Mark Dayton for a Better Minnesota - Governor 2010
Mark Dayton formally declared his candidacy for Governor of Minnesota in the
November 2010 election. Previously, he served as Minnesota’s 34th United States
Senator where he was a member of the Armed Services, Agriculture, and Homeland
Security Committees. Dayton did not seek re-election and left office in January 2007.
Since leaving office, he co-chaired Hillary Clinton’s Minnesota Presidential
Campaign and worked on behalf of DFL candidates statewide.


Contacting Mark Dayton for a Better Minnesota - Governor 2010
Mark Dayton for a Better Minnesota - Governor 2010
1300 Nicollet Avenue
, MN
612-333-2175
Website: http://markdayton.org

Press Contact
Nicole harrison
Office: 612-670-0337
Email: nharrison@markdayton.org

Interview Request
Nicole harrison
Office: 612-670-0337
Email: nharrison@markdayton.org




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