Cut Drug Costs, Not Benefits: A Roadmap for Responsible Savings in Federal Health Care Programs

A temporary repreive from automatic, across-the-board cuts. Potential standoffs in Washington around raising the nation's debt limit and funding operations for the federal government. A faction in Congress that's determined to extract painful cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in return for any action to allow the nation to pay its bills and grow the economy.

What does this all mean for us, as advocates for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security?

It’s time to get busy, and it’s time to propose cost-saving solutions that will shore up Medicare and Medicaid’s finances without hurting patients, health care workers, and families. 

We know that any federal budget package must share the responsibility of deficit reduction  -- not pile it all onto the backs of seniors, working families, and people with disabilities. And it’s up to us as advocates, to show the way forward. 

The best way forward -- before looking for any cuts that could harm the quality of our loved ones' care -- is to allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices in Medicare and Medicaid.

Rather than letting big drug companies and the pharmaceutical lobby (PHARMA -- which spent $159.2 million lobbying Congress in 2011) dictate the prices of prescription drugs that all of us as taxpayers who support Medicare and Medicaid as well as beneficiaries themselves have to pay, Congress can act to un-tie the hands of the federal government to use its purchasing power to drive down costs. 

These are enormous savings that would completely eliminate the need to push through other cuts that could harm the quality of folks’ care. 

In the coming weeks, we’ll be putting our Members of Congress on the record. We’ll be asking them “Whose Side Are You On? Working Families and Seniors or the Big Drug Companies and Their Lobby?” and we’ll be asking them to get behind this smart, responsible solution for cutting federal health care spending. 

What You Can Do:

Sign the petition to Congress to end the sweetheart deal with Big PHARMA and lower drug prices!

If you're part of an organization, sign-on to this letter urging Congress to save money by cutting drug costs, not benefits. 

Share this fact sheet with your friends and networks, and help us find stories of folks on Medicare who are feeling the weight of rising drug prices.