Jay Stamper on Health Care
One appalling example of waste can be found in how our Medicare program purchases prescription drugs. Today, Medicare is prohibited from negotiating lower prices from drug companies. Why? Because in 2003 the drug companies lobbied Congress to enact a law that prohibits Medicare from negotiating lower prices. It costs us $24 billion every year. The drug companies and their lobbyists won and seniors and the taxpayers lost. The benefits aren't better; they're just more expensive.
And we can find more savings. The Medicare program makes $44 billion in improper payments each year, most of which are overpayments. Every dollar we save is one more dollar toward quality care and financial solvency.
It's time to be practical and not political. I believe there are good and bad provisions in the new law and that more needs to be done. I will work with patients, providers, hospitals and businesses to implement what works and fix what doesn't.
But we can do more. We must rein in the costs to our families, businesses and taxpayers. We can do more to root out waste and fraud, to promote preventative care, and to use electronic records to cut red tape.
One way or another we pay the cost of health care, whether it is through state and federal programs or through higher emergency room costs or higher insurance. Our goal should be an efficient system that provides high quality care to all who need it.
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AR: Pryor(D) vs.Cotton(R)
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