tv Washington Journal Dylan Scott Discusses Medicare Drug Prices CSPAN January 30, 2017 8:32am-9:03am EST
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with stat news. what is stat news? public e are a national indication covering healthcare and medicine based out of boston "the boston globe" but we've reporters across the ountry including a couple in d.c. host: it is the website for want to follow your reporting. let's get to drug pricing. what did donald trump promise hen it kim it -- came it prescription drug prices? guest: he said he wants to bring prices.escription drug how he wants to do that is what is unusual. e wants to change ou the federal government -- how the federal government pays that it medicare and medicaid and wants more direct negotiations between the government and drug companies. that is usually something you hear from democratic politicians. whetheroves forward and he is able to wrangle his party to agree is interesting. host: we have special phone
medicare recipients. split them by e region and eastern or central 2027487000 and 2027488001. it -- to helpful explain how medicare drugs are by the federal government before we see how to change. the medicare prescription program is currently administered by private flames -- programs and they negotiate for the price,and there are built in rebates they have to pay to the government required by law. but the argument in favor of aving the whole program negotiate with drug companies is a much bigger baying block and -- buying block.
whether it would drive prices lower and you would reinstructwilling it some that it covers and you can see for obvious reasons why that risky.e politically host: forth only talking -- not nly talking about it on campaign trail but the opening days of the administration. firsts sean spicer in the press conference on monday of last week we asked about prices.ption drug [video clip] >> you heard the president talk drugs and rice of need to get those prices down back in manufacturing pharmaceutical industry. on. s an issue he will work he understands as we reform replacere and repeal or became care getting a hold of the cost of drugs to give people access and greater access and greater plans in healthcare part of it.y
ost: our phone numbers 202-748-8000 eastern or central, 8001 mountain and changing the way the there tions happen, is evidence it would her prices for it would lower prices for the end user? budget he congressional office has looked at this and said the only way it achieve savings is if the federal government is willing to drugsct access it certain and charge higher co-pays or flat out not cover it. and that is where the trump policy and policy that democrats put forward runs into trouble because you can imagine how the pharmaceutical industry the plans can f
uickly attack it if somebody's grandparent can't get the drug because the government said we are in negotiations, you have in met the price point so we won't cover it. ost: you mentioned trump policy and policy democrats put forward. tom price on board with the changes? guest: it was interesting in the congressman price had before the senate committee the democrats pushed him on this because it is a pilolicy more i and he was noncommittal saying i'm willing to look at it. a couple times donald trump will be his boss and it is policies i want the president trump wants. but there was reluctance and any appetitee been emergency republicans who would have to pass legislation to make happen to institute it. a medicare is re-september in alfred --
alfred, maine. caller: good morning. thank you for c-span. this is awesome. of my drugs the last time i got it my co-pay was $7.20 and was in 2016. walgreens says the price was going to be, my co-pay $1,100. i called and asked why and they insurance is paying $500 ess than the price of the drug went up $600. i can't even get that drug now. have to go off that medication. know that this is the big problem and reason prescription drugs have been in news so much is that people are paying high out of pock-of- and the reason it is a political issue.
so something to watch whether or try to reform medicare in the repeal and replace of affordable care act will be is something that addresses either the overall ost of drugs or at least the out-of-pocket cap people are -- cost people are paying unless. host: one alternative affordable replacement plan put forward was senator collins of and senator cassidy of louisia louisiana. did they address this issue in replacement plan they talked about? guest: there hasn't been republican plans including that one that has drugs in prescription a hehead-on way. are smart people that think because republicans will eat democratic support to pass a plan it replace affordable care act they may do something minor on drugvely prices to win over at least a
handful of democrats. like and whether a token gesture on drug prices get democrats to vote to upunder their signature achievement is the open question. host: there is from troy a medicare recipient. steven. caller: good morning, gentlemen. questions. one, i hear from one side then the other says unless something is done medicare is going to go bankrupt. which is true or is it in the middle? people first lady, forget the insurance companies and doctors went it the white obama.nd made deals with so, that is why these insurance companies can jack up the prices because obama allowed them to do it. guest: on the question of think in terms of whether or not the program is inancially solvent or not depends on which party you ask.
it is not going bankrupt any republicans would say unless you make structural changes over the long term it run into t it financial problems. i don't think there's been any republicans are going to address medicare in the near term. be affordable care act will a big enough problem and debate t try to get through the next year or so. and i do think something to watch in the debate over the is how industry reacts. they did, the doctors and plans and drug industry, they were at the table we the affordable care act was people ut a lot of credit the industry buy-in with the law getting over the finish line. ball or not lay with the republicans in law ling and replacing the will be a crucial factor. host: you talk about the industry bay-in. there an -- buy-in. there was an effort to address his and did the industry help stop that?
guest: the drug industry? yes.: guest: one thing that is not well known about the a.c.a. the got to the table early and agreed to a couple things. they said we are willing to pay cover the law's cost nd give are bigger rebates it medicaid and cover this well medicare recipients were facing. but then we don't want to see controls.t price that was a deal that the obama administration was willing to ake because having the drug industry on your side helps get things done. host: we will talk about the industry lobbying arm's reaction sense this has been trump about by the administration brought up a new ad campaign coming out. one of the new commerals theyut out. deo cp] do not gtly inhat
any mention ofl, pricing. guest: the drug industry wants o keep the debate focused on the fact they create innovative save nes that improve an people's lives and that is their argument. those are the -- we have to be a certain price to get the breakthrough treatments. it has been innd their playbook that is the fundamental architect. innovators and we create medicines as that ad made clear will change the world. any effort to crack down on prices could hinder those development efforts. host: mary is in tacoma, washington. good morning. host: good morning. sure a question but not if my facts are correct but if president bush negotiated medicare part d where that we were not
allowed to -- or the government as not allowed to negotiate prices with the fapharmacologic industry. where did that end up with the .c.a. and current decision to try to get prices down? guest: you have your history right. the medicare prescription drug the 2000's passed in under president bush and part of that law stipulated that the a whole overnment as and medicare program as a whole would not be allowed to prices directly. that was left to the private that and murder the part d program. it would require congress to act to change that part of the law. why it becomes very difficult for president trump to implement his policy because historically ve been very reluctant to allow the federal government it get so the drug nvolved in market.
ost: this is a call from pennsylvania, medicare recipient. caller: good morning, gentlemen. medicare is k that going to go bankrupt. of use we have a way [indiscernible]. medicareem i have with is i did not know it was you had to have it because my prescription has so any side effects it was making me sicker than i was and i decided not to use prescription. then i was penalized for not prescription. so you have every month until the day i die i have to pay $28 for not having prescription. give me prescription that doesn't have that many side effects, yes. penalized because of my choice and i thought it was my to choose for
myself and my health and my now i'm penalized for it. kind ofhis goes back to two fundamental things. one is that medicare is a it will be ram that difficult to change because so it.y seniors are affected by it is the single second biggest insurer in the country. but at the same time it is not a perfect program and people do face out-of-pocket costs and of their y money out -- have to pay money out of their own pockets so you could minor changes because there are ways that could help address a situation like yours. the overarching program effects so many it is to imagine the bigger republican plans for overhauling through.ng .ost: allen from missouri next caller: during the election -- process i ad
had conversations with friends obama he advantages of are with, as related to obamare and they all said care is driving up medicare costs. fact that d out the would oughnut hole disappear if obama care was repealed, they said that hasn't any difference anyway. i can say for myself it made a huge difference. so has there been any discussion medicare underof process?m care repeal guest: to your point, there was wherech before the a.c.a. nce medicare recipients hit a thresh held for drugs the benefit stopped and they had to full cost until it kicked in and a.c.a. fixed that
nd made sure people were covered all the way through on prescription drug spending. -- a ton ofn a 10 schemecause in the grand it is a small piece but it is important and i think most of he people i tacked to, lobbyists and -- talked to they don't think that is the kind of to g that republicans want roll back. there's discussion about how there are good things in the popular provisions they would want to keep in closing the doughnut hole is one.ably host: steve from florida calling in. host: good morning. thank you for taking the call. he biggest problem i see in healthcare is the whole discussion 2010 the democrats the ou will -- between democrats and republicans is nsurance and they are totally different. so, the focus on the quality care. there's no discussion of value.
what are we paying when we pay insurance premium and what do we get back? insurance and is healthcare are the same and they are not. 20 instance, there are million americans with health insurance who never had it before. we don't know what healthcare they are getting and what they are using because we the quality ofed care by the performance of the octors in terms of complying guidelines of care from c.d.c. on.american heart so, and so that data has been available for 30 years with insurance carriers to organize in a sense.n that makes we don't have a measure to tell what is the value of either program, any programs that we have. that is what is wrecking the system. choosing your own doctor is something that was promised in really re and it should be.
not an issue. because if a doctor is compliant proper guidelines and providing patients with good preventive sense of care and long-term care, the dramatically.p the cost is not necessarily related to how much you spend or a particular unit of service. it really depends on what the sum of the services are over time. so, it's not an issue of whether doctor is perceived to be a good doctor or the waiting time will attack. what is the value of care he is providing. the call.ks for measurements on quality of care, do we do it now? guest: that is the interesting interesting thing a.c.a. did is created pilot programs it allow doctors and systems it be paid on more value based than one fee service. so, there's a couple of
different ways it measure that. outcomes and ent patient satisfaction and so those programs are probably something that could be continued going forward. create this innovation center in the department of health and human at the hearing last week profiles indicated that is said he would be interesting it keeping that. experiments to allow us to pay more for value as opposed i think is uantity something that is a conversation that started and will continue will ere's in sign it stop. florida to to ocala craig a medicare recipient. caller: good morning. people don't realize when they look at the paycheck it do not say social security or medicare. 45% -- 1.45% out
of every paycheck. work 40 years and say you that 50,000 for 40 years, means they are taking roughly for 40 your check years. when you retire they take an of the al $105 out social security check. -- is it that they call this they laughingly say it is an entitlement program. for you pay for something 40 years and you look at it over a lot of money and you are still paying after you retire. goes back to the point away made before which is medicare is a popular program any serious effort to dramatically overhaul it will problems.political there was talk shortly after president trump was elected and epublicans had seized full control congress said this is their opportunity, they have overhaul ng to medicare but you will notice
when they issipated have the more immediate issue of the affordable care act to deal with. is a third rail of politics. that is the cliche and i think quickly realized if we want to get a.c.a. repealing the which will be difficult itself e can't afford to try to go touch and overhaul medicare which is bigger and more popular program. there were folks earlier this month i remember late night issue specifically the issue of drug pricing taken series e senate with a of other votes. remind us what happened and drug that sends to companies. guest: there were two votes. to was allow medicare negotiate drug prices and that failed on a party line. democrats for and republicans against and that goes back to even though trump says he wants do it is not something his
party historically wanted to do. other would have allowed prescription drugs in canada cheaply to bemore reimported to the united states. that is a little more because it was mostly democrats who voted for republicans n approximately did and on the other side a dozen democrats and bulk of in republicans so it failed but that suggested there could be ome bipartisan interest in doing something about drug prices, maybe allowing drugs to from canada is one place the republicans might be willing to go. at least an s indication it drug makers that this is not a purely party line some and there is willingness to work across the aisle. on : it gave tell guidance where they need to go for lobbying efforts. guest: yes. lawmakers are willing to talk. a call from
connecticut medicare recipient. caller: good morning. said e recently just now discussed they first this discussion of medicine paid for and not in tiated at that time, other words the insurance company agreed to the whole thing because they were not be involved with the in pricing the prescription drugs through medicare. , and s i understand it your guest responded to that and said yes, that is true, that was part of he agreement, the beginning of medicare's
discussion of it. said that they didn't want to -- the congress idn't want to involve negotiating with the insurance prescription ing costs. the veterans administration does just that. they charge, as i understand is paid for under medicare. n other words, for veterans administration the insurance government to the negotiate with them about the price. if that is the case, why that happen in medicare? what is this business about to ress not wanting negotiate the price? host: thanks for the question.
yes, the your point, veterans affairs department has drug eeway to negotiate prices under current federal law. he reason that is has a long complicated history, but i think that one of the things that is mportant to remember is often veterans can get private insurance even if they can't get a benefit or a drug through the v.a. so we i talk it people they pointed out the distinction although democrats will make the you did we do there in one another. why not the other thing to keep in mind is the drug companies and i congressional republicans would argue the private market works and we plans and w private drug companies to negotiate amongst themselves and we don't the federal government involved. host: we have suzanne waiting in hudson, florida. medicare recipient. host: good morning. how are you? well.r: doing go ahead.
caller: the reason i'm calling almost 50 and i have pain issues. have nerve damage and fibromyalgia and cannot work. i just went to my doctor's this past week and i saw law apparently there's some coming into effect that they are orcing the drug companies to educe high roko donate by -- hydrocodone by 75% and opioid by 25%. because i can barely take care of my son who 13 and if there are new drugs o you know, i don't know if that is going to be covered by medicare.
i'm very concerned. lawmakers and policy makers going forward and i don't know how that gets resolved, but problem, scale of the 30,000 -- excuse me, 30,000 opiood dieing from overdose per year, people having real pain problems, tough line to walk for policymakers going forward. host: to read about it going dot com.statten news
appreciate your time this morning. >> thank you. next, weekly your money segment on "washington journal." we'll be discussing student loan costs, specifically how much certain repayment plans are u.s. taxpayers, we'll be joined by melissa emrey-arras of accountability office coming up in just a minute on the "washington journal." >> the state of the net conference held in washington, week.this past tonight on communicators we'll speak with three attendees about the internet. former special council to the advisor on the trump
talk about future communication and wills acting assistant attorney general for mccourt security mary on online radicalization. neutrality. likes they don't want to be a referee on the field and make sure fast, fair and open. >> i think there could be a lot of improvements for the fcc. needs to be sharply focused and structure needs to adapt, as well. of google, facebook and others to create counter essaging cht the government is not in a good position to be a counter mesnger. t is the area e private seor hastarted to step up. cmucarsonht on-sn2 >>-sn shisryfos an. 79c-anreed puicercey amics cabltevionomnynd brghtoou