Friday, September 26, 2008

Medicare: "Do as we say, not as we do"

While Medicare officials advise seniors to shop around, I recall that the federal Medicare program itself is prohibited from shopping around for the lowest drug prices:
As written, the legislation complied with a drug industry demand that Medicare be prohibited from negotiating with manufacturers for lower drug prices. Among those helping the industry make its stand was Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-Louisiana), whose committee on energy and commerce oversaw Medicare. In an odoriferous development, Tauzin soon quit Congress to become president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America – Big Pharma’s Washington lobbying group.
I think healthcare reform would proceed a lot faster if all members of Congress and their staff were required to use Medicare as their health insurance.