Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter Sponsors Bill to Require the US Government to Negotiate Prices for Medicare Prescription Drugs

WASHINGTON -- Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter appeared at a press conference today to announce her support for a bill to force the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower drug prices on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries.

The previous law, passed by the Republican-controlled Congress, explicitly prevented the government from negotiating lower prices.

Shea-Porter was one of six sponsors of the bill, joining John Dingell, chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Charlie Rangel, Chairman of the Committee onWays and Means, Henry Waxman, Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and others.

Speaking before a crowded room in the Capitol, Shea-Porter told how her parents had been hit hard by the high cost of prescription drugs when her father became ill. She told reporters that it is essential for the government to be able to bargain for lower drug prices: "I would be really unhappy if my insurance company did not negotiate the price of my prescriptions," she said. "The government has tremendous buying power and I stand here to urge my colleagues to use that power to negotiate better prices for prescription drugs."

Many organizations have endorsed the Medicare bill, including the AARP, the American Nurses Association, the National Education Association, the AFL-CIO, the Alliance for Retired Americans, and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

The bill will come up for a vote in the House of Representatives tomorrow.