Medicare :: US bill would require Medicare price negotiations

U.S. House of Representatives Democrats introduced legislation on Friday that would require the health secretary to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs covered by the Medicare insurance program for the elderly and disabled. A vote by the full House is expected on Jan_12.

Medicare is a health insurance program administered by the United States government, covering people who are either age 65 and over, or who meet other special criteria. The “Original Medicare” program has two parts: Part A (Hospital Insurance), and Part B (Medical Insurance).

Part A covers hospital stays. It will pay for nursing home stays as well. Part B medical insurance helps pay for some services and products not covered by Part A, generally on an out-patient basis.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers have opposed government negotiation, arguing it would amount to “price controls” that would cut their budgets for developing new drugs.