The U.S. Senate today will consider a bill that would correct one of the most short-sighted clauses of any legislation ever passed in this country - the part of the Medicare Part D legislation that kept the government from negotiating the best prices for the drugs now being sold to seniors.
A Star Tribune editorial summarizes some of the folly of the current law:
"When the Department of Veterans Affairs buys prescription drugs for veterans, it negotiates discounts from drug manufacturers. When Medicaid buys drugs on behalf of poor families, it demands the lowest available price. Yet when Congress added a prescription drug benefit to Medicare in 2003, it specifically banned the government agency from negotiating discounts on behalf of senior citizens and taxpayers.
That was an egregious and bizarre decision, and Congress should reverse it as soon as possible. ....
It is the biggest new federal entitlement since the Great Society, and it is costing billions of dollars in borrowed money. The least Congress can do is let Medicare get the best bang for the taxpayer's buck."