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. Great Start

    This is a good start, now lets discuss why the same drugs are cheaper in Canada and Americans get stuck paying more for these medications. This is only a fraction of what needs to be done, but at least it's progress....keep going and fix ALL of it!

    June 22, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. David

    Wait!!! Do you mean there is something else happening of importance to the American people in the world, besides a handful of protestors in Iran acting out?

    Were there any Tweets from the new seniors citizen journalist about savings in drug costs?

    Oh.....here's one now from HipGranny who writes: Yippie!!!!

    June 22, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. Karrie

    This says it covers brand name drugs; what about generics? It's been my experience that most people get generic drugs unless a generic isn't available.

    June 22, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  4. Larry from RI

    Hey "Voter" – if you don't like the reduced price then why not opt-out and pick up the whole tab for your aging parents and grandparents or let them go without like a good little "conservative brown shirt"!

    Thought not!

    June 22, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    Corporations did this on their to attempt to stop some worse regulations. It's all about the money. Now Drama Obama is taking all the credit of course.

    all the bad things – Bush or someone else's fault
    all the good things that Obama stumbles across – all Glory to Obama

    complete lack of responsibility – what a role model.

    June 22, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  6. renea

    Thanks president Obama for your continious effort on this, especially trying to help the seniors with lowering drug costs.

    June 22, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  7. walleye

    I wouldnt trust the drug companys any further than I could throw a piano. If they are lowering costs to senior, then we better watch out cause they will raise them somewhere else. Of course when Pres Bush signed this drug program into law he knew that the big drug companys would benefit. Thank Again to Pres Obama for helping the man on Main St.

    June 22, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. Susan

    Would something be done for the economy?

    I am loosing my CHANGE.
    By the way, when in Obama going for his next date? I do not have money for that so have to enjoy his.

    June 22, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. New Day

    Amazing!!!! I clicked on this link thinking: well, surely no constipated republicans are gonna have an issue with cutting drug costs for seniors... How silly I was. 🙂

    June 22, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  10. Tarheel

    I'm all for "Free" Public Health Insurance, as long asthe President and Congress will explain how they are going to pay for it without raising taxes. Any who makes this promise should be wiling to resign if they have to go back on their promise. If they'll do this, I'll jump right on the bandwagon. BTW, there will be no choice in keedping your plan you currently have or go on the Public Plan. All companies will drop their health insurance just like they have their prnsion plans and 401K matches.

    June 22, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. Steve

    I wonder what the quid pro quo is? Probably told them he would not nationalize the industry. Too much power in DC. You all may look at this as good, but it scares me to death. And I am one that will have the doughnut hole in a few years. Retied Military are forced onto Medicare at 65.

    June 22, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  12. Ray from Nashville

    And in a related article, health insurance companies have crunched the numbers and have now agreed to recognize that since people are living longer these days, the term "senior" shall now apply to anyone aged 95 or above. lol

    June 22, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. Georgio

    His socialist, his soft on Iran, his deficits are too high, his medicare reform is falling apart, his more popular than his policies, his polls are coming down, his honey moon is over. IS THERE SOMETHING THIS HAD DONE OR DOING RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!???????

    June 22, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  14. Reformed Republican

    Mark,B'ham,Al. says "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"

    Do you honestly think reducing the "donut hole" gives seniors a better drug deal than the U.S. military? Perhaps you should take a look at just what Medicare Part D is. After all, that will be YOUR prescription drug plan when you're a senior citizen if things don't change for the better.

    June 22, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  15. nadine

    Obama cut out of pocket expenses for the elderly by 50% and that will save Medicare costs how?? If medicare is not paying for it and the elderly are paying out of pocket for these prescriptions, how is that saving medicare money. Yes, that is saving the elderly some money, but the elderly still have to come up with the rest of the 50%, so maybe the elderly will not be so deeply in debt, but will still be in debt? Point being, the elderly will still have to pay something out of pocket, so what really is that fixing?

    June 22, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  16. mw

    The cost of drugs to all consumers is a crime, especially for all the common chronic drugs. Even common generics are overpriced. It makes no difference if I get generics "free", and pay $99 for brands for 90 day supply. I still get to the donut hole in 6 months because of the amount my insurance company "reports" they have paid the pharmacy.
    Need to look at doctors offices too. Medicare got billed $278 for a nurse practioner to give me a dip-tet shots, and put a band aid on a barbed wire (very superficial) scratch. Something is wrong with that picture. We need to re-start peer review organizations review of doctors offices and hospital charges.

    June 22, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  17. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    All the "doughnut hole gap" in Medicare did was put money in the pocket of the insurance companies and drug companies because of the large out of pocket expense that seniors on Medicare had to come up with when they reached the amt allowed under Medicare.

    June 22, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  18. Lisa - VA

    Voter..it's people like you who has the ALL or NOTHING mentality. GET A LIFE!!!

    June 22, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  19. Deb

    I wonder what Rush, the leader of the Republican Party will say to this...OMG people socialism is catching on quick. Imagine that grandma can buy her pills and eat dinner everyday. What discrimanation.

    June 22, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  20. Jeanine Thollman

    Obama, I am a senior citizen Stay out of my health coverage before you take all of it away.

    June 22, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. Dawn in Pa

    This is great for the ones who are on a fixed income. I remember when my mother was sick and they sent her home from the hospital saying that she is better, My dad went to get her medication and the week she was home, he spent over $600.00, he always sent the recepts to Medicare and never got back what he paid for the meds.

    If anyone says something negative about this, go and buy meds without your precsription insurance and pay out of pocket, especially the new drugs where you can pay from $100 to 300 dollars, and they don;t have that type of money.

    But there are some drug companies do incedently help the needy.

    June 22, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  22. HB

    Awesome! In my opinion, our elders shouldn't have to pay for their prescriptions at all, but this is a good improvement. For-profit healthcare needs to go.

    June 22, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  23. Lauren

    This is an important first step in reducing costs in health care. Seniors unfortunately bear the brunt of health care costs because their prescription drugs are so expensive.

    June 22, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  24. Jenny from Outside America

    The American people need to communicate with all their representatives in Washington and keep up the fire until they get the healthcare they need. The President need the support. No matter how hard they fight, the majority with the President will win. keep pushing and although there will be a fight. Keep up the presure. Remeber they all want to be elected again and the people need to make their collective voices heard and they will break eventually.

    June 22, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. lxm

    It is fuuny you only hear what you want to hear...You need to really listen.... If you weren't so fascinated everytime Obama spoke you might learn something....!!!! doubtfull but give it a try...

    June 22, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
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