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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Response from my Congressman 

It looks like the standard form letter sent to everyone who wrote in on the issue (no surprise):
Dear Benjamin:

Thank you for your letter about legislation that would require the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate with drug companies in order to lower prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries. I appreciate your taking the time to get in touch.

H.R. 4, the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007, repeals the part of the current law that prohibits the Secretary of Health and Human Services from negotiating with drug companies for lower prices for those enrolled in Medicare drug plans. The bill would instead require the Secretary to conduct cost-saving negotiations, and in conducting these negotiations, the Secretary may not restrict access to certain medicines in Medicare, for example by requiring a formulary to be used by Medicare Advantage plans. Finally, the bill would require the Secretary to submit to Congress a report on the negotiations conducted no later than June 1, 2007, and every six months thereafter.

I voted for this legislation when the House passed it on January 12, 2007. I have some concerns that it will actually lower the prices of drugs. The non-partisan Congressional Research Service issued a report on January 5, 2007, which said that the bill "may not necessarily lead to lower costs for beneficiaries." The report also said the bill could affect the number and types of drugs that would be available to seniors and the amount of research and development and innovation by pharmaceutical companies. Nonetheless, the Medicare prescription drug program has failed to slow the rapid growth in drug prices, and I think we need to try different approaches to make lifesaving medicines available to our nation's seniors. I will continue to work on a prescription drug program that is effective, accessible and affordable.

Once again, thanks for writing. To learn more about my positions on issues or to sign up for my email newsletter, please visit my website at

Warm Regards,

Mark Udall
Member of Congress

-Ben  23:04 EST | |

About us:

This weblog is an ongoing, if periodic, effort by several friends to stay in touch, in reading material, and in ideas.

Lucky Luciano is a former Italian Stallion real estate hustler and Benedict Arnold CEO turned shady lawyer-to-be. He lives in Denver.

Ben is a Paramedic and would-be philantropist who lives in Denver. He knows everything about nothing.

Fuzzy Dunlop lives in Manhattan. He is more than capable of standing up to the stresses of a high crime urban environment.

Jess is a teacher. But have YOU given her an apple? No, you haven't. You should be ashamed of yourself. This crazy feminist currently rests her copy of Awakening in Jersey City.

Matt is a pariah, iconoclast, and professor of gambling living in Oakland.

Miguel Sanchez is not Lionel Hutz.

Daddy Brooklyn lives in Brooklyn. He hates Republicans, though he wouldn't mind being ensconced in the landed elite of New York City.

Paul just smoked my eyelids and punched my cigarette.

Ziggy Stardust has no past.

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