Prescription Discount Cards Latest Medicare Reform Tactic
White House to Release Broader Plan
"It throws out a whole new idea that may or may not be
workable," says Neuman. "It sounds like you're getting something you're
not. They're not extracting a co-pay from you," but, she says, there could
be other hidden charges.
On Thursday, the president is expected to recommend basic
principles for Medicare reform that would shore up the program financially and
add a universal prescription drug benefit. However, a big battle is expected
over what the pumped-up program will cost and how much it will rely on managed
Capitol Hill is also tackling the broad issue of prescription
drugs. On Wednesday, the House passed a measure that would make it legal for
Americans to buy mail order drugs made in the U.S. from overseas. That was over
the strenuous objections of the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry, which
believe the move could flood the country with counterfeit or contaminated
A broader law was passed last year that would have allowed
reimportation by pharmacies, but it was never implemented because of safety
concerns. Still, U.S. consumers have been eager to buy drugs from abroad where
price controls keep costs down dramatically.
A similar bill is under consideration in the Senate, although
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson came out Tuesday against
drug reimportation as too risky and not cost-effective.