John Kerry outlines plan to bring down the costs of prescription drugs

Armed with the endorsement of the Alliance for Retired Americans, Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry Wednesday outlined his plan to bring down the costs of prescription drugs as part of his overall plan to make health care more affordable for all Americans. Kerry, speaking with seniors in Henderson, NV, called on President Bush to back reimportation legislation to help seniors get affordable prescription drugs.

For nearly four years, President Bush has failed to take meaningful steps to bring down rising health care costs. While he has given millions away to HMOs and pharmaceutical companies, families have been squeezed by rising premiums, seniors have suffered trying to get their medicine and small businesses have struggled to compete and create jobs. The overall result has burdened an already slow U.S. economy.

The Kerry-Edwards campaign today released a new report showing the sky high prices of prescription drugs under George W. Bush. The report compares prescription drug prices currently available in drug stores to prices available in Canada through reimportation, as well as prices Medicare negotiates with drug companies through bulk purchasing. Called “We’re Turning the Corner? Towards Sky-High Drug Prices Across The Country,” the report illustrates the kind of prices Americans are paying while the President continues to put prescription drug profits over real price relief for seniors.

“With rising health care costs and a dragging economy, our seniors and families are squeezed like never before,” Kerry said. “Seniors are cutting their pills in half, and we’re told the best we can do for them is a Medicare bill that’s riddled with waste and handouts to drug companies. We can do better.”

In the White House, Kerry and John Edwards will build a stronger America by bringing down health care costs. They will help families and businesses by expanding coverage options and offering premium relief, and, as Kerry discussed today, they will help seniors by enacting real prescription drug relief to contain costs, including allowing reimportation.

“Leaders on both sides of the aisle – from Trent Lott to John McCain to Ted Kennedy – agree on reimportation, and it’s time the one in the White House did too,” Kerry said.

The support Kerry and Edwards are receiving from seniors, as well as the dissatisfaction seniors feel with the leadership of Bush, can be seen in two announcements from the Kerry-Edwards campaign today. Kerry was endorsed by the Alliance for Retired Americans and the campaign rolled-out the grassroots organization “Seniors for Kerry-Edwards.”

Prescription drug prices have risen faster than all other health care costs since 1997, including a skyrocketing 11.5 percent in 2003 alone. While Bush’s only response has been a special interest giveaway in the form of a Medicare bill, Kerry and Edwards have a detailed plan to lower prescription drug costs for America’s seniors. Their plan will offer real relief and real choices and will never put drug companies and insurance profits ahead of lower drug prices.

Kerry and Edwards will allow reimportation of safe, FDA-approved prescription drugs to give Americans access to the substantial discounts for prescription drugs in Canada, and require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate better prices for prescription drugs under Medicare. They will end loopholes that keep more affordable prescription drugs from the market and help states provide relief by allowing them to extend Medicaid discounts.

“When John Edwards and I are in the White House, drug companies won’t call the shots,” Kerry said. “Working hand in hand with organizations like the Alliance for Retired Americans and people like you, I know that together, we will do right by our greatest generation.”

The Kerry-Edwards plan to lower prescription drug costs is just part of their plan to provide affordable, quality and reliable health care coverage to all Americans. Outlined in their new book “Our Plan for America: Stronger at Home, Respected in the World,” their plan will allow families access to the same health care plans members of Congress buy into and provide small businesses with relief from rising costs.

The Kerry-Edwards campaign has been actively reaching out to seniors, who will represent an estimated 25 percent of the electorate, and today announced its National Seniors for Kerry-Edwards outreach program.

The National Seniors for Kerry-Edwards program is a grass-roots effort whose goal is to identify, organize and mobilize seniors for Kerry and Edwards in this election. Already seniors have been working to support the Kerry-Edwards ticket, and the national program will work to harness this energy into Senior State Action Groups which will coordinate activities locally. Seniors for Kerry-Edwards will be led by national co-chairs Hyman “Bookie” Bookbinder, Alice Bulos, La Donna Harris, James Hormell and Henry “Hank” Lacayo.

In addition, the Alliance for Retired Americans endorsed the Kerry-Edwards ticket and their three million plus members will augment the campaign’s strong seniors outreach program. They will conduct voter education and voter registration drives as well as launch a massive GOTV program to ensure that their members and seniors as a whole vote for Kerry and Edwards.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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