You don’t have to be a Republican to stand up and support President Trump’s recent announcement that he is launching actions to confront global pharmaceutical freeloading and that he will take actions to lower drug prices for American patients. How often have we all heard such welcome but empty promises from a long string of presidents? But this move is consistent with his step by step fulfillment of his many campaign commitments that were deemed “impossible” by his political opponents. His lowering of taxes, exiting from the Paris Accords and the Iranian Folly, movement of our embassy to Jerusalem, dealing with North Korea, straightening out NATO, redoing NAFTA to our advantage, bringing back jobs and businesses to the USA, all of which have been done in well less than two years in office. And now his promise of targeting the outrageous drug prices that have been a thorn in every American’s side is soon to be his next task.
In order to do so, President Trump is putting forth a new plan to permit Medicare to pay for certain drugs that is based on prices other developed nations pay. This initiative is projected to reduce Medicare’s payments for these drugs by an incredible 30 percent over the next five years. Trump is also putting forward a major plan to fix the terrible incentive that encourages doctors to administer more expensive drugs, raising costs for taxpayers and senior citizens. Under his initiative, doctors would receive the same reimbursement for similar, less costly drugs, eliminating an incentive to administer higher priced drugs.
Foreign countries currently get much lower prices from drug makers, putting the burden on American patients to subsidize these discounts by forcing higher prices on the United States. His straightforward words: “The same company, same box, same pill made in the exact same location and you will go to some countries and it will be 20 percent the cost of what we pay and in some cases much less than that.” In some cases, the U.S. pays 400% more than other countries. Health and Human services plans to shift payments from current payment levels to levels based on international prices over a 5 year period. The administration hopes to put out a regulation on the overseas pricing model by Spring, 2019. Currently, Medicare reimburses doctors’ for administering Part B drugs. Medicare pays out the average sales price plus an additional 6% of that price to the doctor to compensate for storage and handling of the product.
For too many years, the problem of skyrocketing drug prices has been bungled by each and every administration, with the ultimate victims, the helpless American patient. We hope that President Trump uses his clout to take on this scandal and give Americans the same opportunity that the rest of the world gets from our nation’s ingenuity and capitalism and that is superior medications and lower prices for them.
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