WISCONSINREPORT.COM (1/5/2010) - The U.S. Senate Health Care bill recently passed by the Senate includes some provisions of the Control Spending Now Act (CSNA) introduced by Wisconsin U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI). The provisions would effectively lower the cost of prescription drugs, if included in the final version that comes out of the House-Senate Conference Committee. Senator Feingold says he will fight to keep the provisions in the final bill. In a WisconsinReport.com news story Feingold explains how the savings would come about.
U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, recently introduced the Control Spending Now Act, legislation to reduce the deficit by more than one half trillion dollars. The legislation is made up of more than 40 proposals to cut the record U.S. deficit, which currently stands at $1.42 trillion.
The U.S. Senate health care bill includes Control Spending Now Act provisions designed to cut costs through cheaper prescription drugs.
"I am pleased the Senate health care bill includes several provisions also included in my Control Spending Now Act to deliver real savings for the American taxpayer," Senator Feingold said.
"A good portion of the savings the health care bill will deliver come from changing our Medicaid drug policy," Feingold continued.
"By allowing the government to negotiate better prices for Medicaid beneficiaries, and by having wealthier individuals pay their fair share for Medicare prescription drug coverage, we can both slash the deficit and improve Medicare solvency," Feingold esxplained.
"I am pleased the Senate health care bill contained these cost-cutters and I will work to make sure they are in the final bill," Senator Russ Feingold pledged.
Here are some details regarding the provisions and how they could affect the United States deficit, the budget, health care organizations, Medicare, Medicaid, drug prices, and the Medicare Trust Fund.
DEFICIT REDUCTION: More than $24.6 billion.
What it is: Three provisions in Senator Feingold's Control Spending Now Act (CSNA) that are also included in the Senate health care bill will collectively save tens of billions of dollars in health care costs having to do with prescription drug costs.
Two provisions would help the government to negotiate lower drug prices for Americans. Another provision would require wealthier individuals to pay their fair share of Medicare Part D premiums.
Feingold says not only will these reforms help reduce the deficit, but they will also increase Medicare solvency.
These provisions are included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) – the health care reform bill currently being debated in the Senate. When they are enacted, Feingold points out that they will contribute to slashing the deficit by tens of billions of dollars.
THE CSNA PROVISIONS INCLUDED in the Senate health care bill are:
DISCOUNTED DRUG PRICING - Expands the number of health care organizations eligible for the 340 B discount to purchase certain drugs at a discounted price for their Medicaid patients.
The CSNA includes a provision based on the Drug Rebate Equalization Act, a bill introduced by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and cosponsored by Feingold, to extend the ability to purchase these discounted drugs to managed care organizations to provide treatment to Medicaid beneficiaries.
Deficit reduction - The Congressional Budget Office estimates this will save $11 billion over 10 years.
MEDICAID DRUG REBATES – Medicaid is able to recoup a portion of spending on prescription drugs through a rebate paid by the drug manufacturer. A provision in the CSNA sets the rebate at a flat 20 percent rate, up from the current rate of 15.1 percent. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has increased the flat rebate to an even greater 23.1 percent.
Deficit reduction: Senator Feingold’s initial effort would have saved $3.6 billion over 10 years. Senator Feingold expects the savings will be even greater under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s higher rate.
MEDICARE SUBSIDIES FOR PART D – Identical to the cost-sharing policy for Medicaid Part B, this policy would implement a cost-sharing requirement for the wealthiest beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Part D; individuals making over $85,000 or couples making over $170,000 each year.
Senator Feingold says this policy change will not affect more than 95 percent of Medicare recipients, but it will help strengthen the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund.