June 22nd, 2009
12:31 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama praises agreement to cut drug costs for senior citizens

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/22/art.bodrugs0622.gi.jpg caption="Democratic Sens. Max Baucus, center, and Chris Dodd joined President Obama Monday at the White House when Obama announced a new agreement controlling some Medicare drug costs."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama strongly praised a decision by the nation's pharmaceutical industry to agree to a deal cutting drug costs for elderly Americans on Monday, calling it an example of the kind of compromise required for successful national health care reform.

The agreement discounts medications for Medicare beneficiaries currently facing high out-of-pocket expenses when their benefits reach a gap in coverage.

"Real health care reform ... will require these kinds of commitments," Obama said during an appearance at the White House.

"Today marks a major step forward, but it will only be meaningful if we complete the journey. ... We are going to get this done."

The nation's top drug manufacturers agreed over the weekend to at least a 50 percent discount for most beneficiaries for brand-name medicines purchased in the so-called "doughnut hole" gap in coverage, Obama noted.

The gap involves medication costs of senior citizens between roughly $2,700 and $6,100 a year that are not covered by the Medicare part D plan.

The deal is expected to amount to an $80 billion reduction in Medicare drug costs for senior citizens over the next 10 years, according to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, who helped negotiate the agreement.

Filed under: Health care • President Obama
soundoff (109 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    This is CHANGE I can believe in. Republican hatred in 5...4...3...2...1

    June 22, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  2. Alfred E. Neumann

    Another promise that will not be kept but you will not hear that on CNN or MSNBC.

    June 22, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  3. margie w.

    This is a great accomplishment!!

    June 22, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  4. Retired Army in San Antonio

    No.....no......NO!!!!!!!! Cutting prescription costs for poor, old-people?

    That's discriminatory towards wealthy, young people......and REEKS of SOCIALISM!!!!!

    How terrible 🙁 !!!!

    June 22, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    The Senior Citizens should get no better a drug deal than the US Military. An HMO system that does not carry the latest and greatest. I cannot get Lipitor or Tri-Cor at my local base and my wife has to get insulin that is drawn for a vile instead of the epi-pin her doctor gave her. She also cannot get her blood pressure medicine at the base either. All I can say is we are lucky she has great insurance through her work so we can get the drugs and care that we need. And Obama and the democrats want to mess with it by either undercutting it so companies put us on a government plan or to tax our benefits. My son only made &18,000.00 last year yet he is willing to pay $250.00 a month to get good insurance on him and his 5 year old son. He is showing a responsability that most of the 48 million uninsured are not willing to show.

    June 22, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  6. Randolph Carter

    Turns out those big pharmaceutical companies are compassionate and kindly after all. Now I feel all warm and fuzzy. I wuv them. Have a nice day!

    June 22, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. Voter

    Big deal. How about NEGOTIATING FOR THE LOWEST PRICE, which is what the V.A. does? THAT would be reform. What's the matter, worried about losing some potential campaign funding?

    At a 50% discount, seniors are still paying an additional $1,700 – do the math, people.

    Looks like Obama is taking yet another step to the right. But he's been doing that since naive Americans crowned him in January.

    Hope all you young, eager Obama fans out there are willing to give your grandparents that $1,700 – they're going to need it. But of course your are – aren't you???

    June 22, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. The Other Michael in Houston

    I think it is great, a little late but better late than never.

    June 22, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. Melissa

    Good. But its only one tiny baby step.

    I can just see the Republicans freak out over it.

    June 22, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. margie w.

    Should have never retired or been in the Army to begin with if you think this is socialism!. Obama needs to go FULL SPEED AHEAD and disregard the party of "No". His own party...well if anyone in our party is against standing up to the lobbyist then they need to be voted out just as many poor repub's (believe me they are in your party too, they are usually pawns of the party that are bigotted and small minded) need to vote out their losers, which they have more of!!

    June 22, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. Republican senior

    No, no no, I don't want it!

    June 22, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  12. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    Darn President Obama and his liberal buddies for helping old people? What's next? Helping kids! Ebenzer Scrooge is alive and well and works for the GOP.

    June 22, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  13. The black spider

    Message to all republicans stupid haters.
    Why don't you all pull your grand fathers or older dad and moms off medicare and buy them one your Famous Loved Private Insurance since you hate the public option so bad and called it socialism.
    Oh you can't do that?.....

    June 22, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. Ted

    One has to wonder why the Bush administration signed into law the Medicare Part D with the 'donut hole' gap in the first place. But then Bush and his cronies are all rich men on the federal health plan and don't have those problems. Some states have gap insurance including NY State's EPIC program. Just yet another neocon rightwing nut Republican way of screwing senior citizens.

    June 22, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  15. Ken in NC

    It will be a big help to me. Thank you Mr. President. While I do not agree with all of your decisions, I seem to recall thinking to myself that I would not and I was willing to live with it so I will.

    Thanks again and don't let Republicans drive us into a conflict with Iran. You do what you feel is best for the many.

    June 22, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. Shari, NY

    Good news! I know of some seniors who won't cannot afford to buy anything out of pocket so they go without.

    June 22, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  17. katiec

    Isn't it amazing the drug companies can now come up with cost savings? Course, when the republicans put the presecription plan into effect it was with the requirement that there could be no bids, no competitive pricing. Their main goal was to break medicare.
    Now, they are fighting the public option, in protection of their insurance company supporters.
    Big business, lobbyists and special interests have been running and raping our country for far too long. We must demand control and to
    do this must let our politicians know that we will no longer tolerate their raping of the American people.
    Go to ussenators.com and you can e mail those who are not putting us and our country first.

    June 22, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  18. dominican mama 4 Obama

    Boy when they agree to a 50% discount on meds for seniors, can you imagine what their mark-up is? Me thinks that the pharmaceutical companies are throwing us a bone in hopes of sidetracking what the President is hellbent on accomplishing: affordable healthcare for ALL.
    This is one of the reasons why I voted for Obama: he's more concerned about the average American than about losing votes in his next election. There might be a hard price to pay for doing the right thing, but my President has the cojones to go ahead and do it anyway!!

    June 22, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  19. Gary

    Interesting deal... but the real solution to medicare and social security is not incremental cuts in drug prices but rather fundamental change in the way we think about retirement. If people are going to live to be 85-95, then they can't retire at 65. Healthy people need to work at age 65, 75 or even 85. If you are wealthy and can afford to retire and pay your own bills (including meds) then fine do it. But if you aren't that wealthy, we need you working. If we get to a point where we only have 2 workers per retiree, it won't matter how cheap these drugs are, the systems will fail. In order to support yourself through life you need to work approximately 2/3 of your life... so if you start at age 18 and live to age 78 you need to work until age 68. If you start at age 23 (after college) and live to 90, then you need to work to age 83...its simple math.

    June 22, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. Blondie

    Gee, maybe now that granny and gramps are getting even MORE healthcare benefits, they can kick in to help pay the medical costs for their uninsured middle-class kids and grandkids who are still being largely ignored by this country.

    June 22, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  21. demwit

    80 billion down, 1.52 trillion to go..

    June 22, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  22. Ivan Schiff

    Everytime overhaul of the healthcare system seems imminent, segments of the system find ways to lessen the cost.
    So how much profiteering is built into our heathcare system?

    June 22, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. Dina/Bronx

    The pharmaceutical companies make BILLIONS! And are huge lobbyists. If they really want to help the 65+ crowd, why not just let Medicare foot the bill and no more out-of-pocket expenses. Those of us who have health insurance already pay into the pharmaceutical companies along with out co-pay.

    Retired people don't make enough from their social security and pensions to live like humans. Give them all a break! I mean, a BIGGER break!

    June 22, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  24. Takeshi

    totaly great. OH wait. The repugs will say NO it is helping to many people

    June 22, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  25. Fair is Fair

    To all of you who are clamoring for a "public option"... please tell me, what exactly are the details of this "option" you want so badly? Forget how much it's going to cost overall... how much is it going to cost YOU? The fact is, there hasn't been ANY details provided yet. How can you be so sure that you want this without knowing exactly what is it you want?

    June 22, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
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