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. history repeats


    he only has to pay $250 a month forinsurance for him and his son?! you think thats sacrifice!?!? he made $18k last year thats $1500 a month and all he has to pay is $250 and you think that the 48 million uninsured are facing pathetic numbers like that?! let me put it to you like this i made $40,000 last yr and since my job doesnt contribute to my health insurance anymore the payment for me will be $2000 a month for me, my wife and 2 kids. plus $25 co pays for primary doctors and $45 co-pays for specialists!! plus prescription costs! dont talk to me about responsibilty and the fact that your wife might not have her great benefits anymore. alot of us are suffering and having our backs broken in this system. we are not keeping this system just because you happen to have a good deal!

    June 22, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    When US won't allow generic Donepezil (60 cents per day), but forces Aricept ($6.00 per day), we know we have a problem. Canada will send generic if you have a prescription. (These drugs are for Alzheimer's – prevalent in the elderly)

    Insurance companies here getting wealthy at the expense of our elderly and sick. Needs to stop now.

    June 22, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. Zero.

    Most of what Obama is talking about now is Garbage.

    Kids are targeted by other Kid-Smoker. They steal from their parents.

    June 22, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. Educate yourselves before you open your mouth and just let the words fall out

    @ Alfred E. Neumann June 22nd, 2009 12:33 pm ET

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

    What a totally ignorant comment!

    June 22, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. phoenix86

    By "completing the journey" Obama means spending between $1 – $1.5 trillion on a health care plan that won't insure all Americans but will take away the current coverage of all Americans.

    That's Obama's change.

    June 22, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  6. jt

    The GOP did nothing for the elderly, men & women in service, the middle class, our economic structure, general health care accessibility, the nations infrastructure, reducing dependence on foreign oil, foreign relations – and I could go on and on..

    Why would the GOP, in any way, think that they are a viable party?

    June 22, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  7. J.C.

    50% discount of what? That "what" needs to be addressed, or else it will get out of control to make up for the loss of 50%. Don't forget these pharmaceuticals and private health insurance companies are forever for profit.

    When Obama is out of the White House, will the deal be kept? I think the taxpayers are better off to have a law setting limits, not a voluntary deal from the pharmaceuticals.

    June 22, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  8. Jeffery Young


    The black spider June 22nd, 2009 12:50 pm ET

    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?…..



    What are talking about, leave a comment so we can understand what it is your tring to say. Calm down and write a little more clearly!

    Have a nice day!

    June 22, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  9. greg

    i see stupid is running rampant again!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

    June 22, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  10. Marcus, Great Lakes IL


    I get what I need from the V.A. Have never had a problem. I don't understand how you can complain about the Obama plan when you get your socialist services from the same place I do.

    Something smell fishy here...

    June 22, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  11. independent Jim

    Why not implement a "best customer price" requirement like the government does with typical government contractor vendors? Both Medicare and the elderly pay whatever the pharm company charges as its lowest price to any other customer, including foreign customers. For instance, if the pharm company sells pill A to a customer in Canada for $3.00 as its lowest price, then that is the price it must charge Medicare and/or an elderly patient for the privilege of selling pill A in the US.

    June 22, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. Pat F

    @The black spider: OK – but first refund to all of us, including our parents and grandparents, all the money you Democrats yank out of our checks every stinkin' week for our entire working lives to fund that boondoggle you call Medicare – with over 30% fraud and waste baked right in.

    Once you give us 100% of our dough back – with 5% interest – we'll be happy to go buy insurance in the private sector. You could get Rolls Royce insurance with all of that money, no problem at all.

    OK, pal? I'll be watching for my check in the mail.

    June 22, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. southerncousin

    How much will it actually cost those of us who are working and not staying at home, collecting the government checks and watching Springer and Oprah?

    June 22, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. Zero.

    Obama is hoping (Stupid). That stepping on the toes of Tobacco companies will help this bill. Also garbage.

    June 22, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. Candy West Virginia

    See repubs, this is the kind of stuff that happens when a Democrat is President, he works for the people not big corporations or the rich.

    June 22, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  16. Larisa

    This is a small step, but still step in the right direction.
    I had recent experience with very expensive drugs which I would never be able to afford (I don't have insurance not because of "irresponsibility" but because of astronomical cost and "uninsurable age 58". I applied with two drug manufacturer for assistance and get both drugs free. I would still prefer to be covered by public plan and not go search every time I need new drugs with no guarantee I will find a way to get it. But from what I hear even the new reform won't make insurance affordable for families like mine (with my husband out of work self-employed and mortgage eating most of my salary).
    I am tired of screams of "socialism" etc. This is from people who never have to worry how to pay bills and buy food and still manage somehow take care of your health at least to the degree that you can work and earn money to pay... – you can start circle over again

    June 22, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  17. Obama Victim

    look at that boy grin.......must have just spent some more money

    June 22, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. Mike/Fairfax, VA

    Wow... lots of people here expecting Republican hate.. and I don't really see any in anyone's comments. Do you just dump on the Republicans because you can't come up with any intellectual argument? I think both of your parties suck. BTW... and this is a fact.. there is a three year waiting list in Canada to get a 30 minute procedure that takes care of chronic incontinence. Only a 7 day wait in NY.

    June 22, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. Sam Sixpack

    Are these companies admitting they've been gouging? Or are they going to raise prices across the board to offset the discount? It is another funny money game.

    June 22, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. RR

    what's going to happen to drug costs for the rest of us? Seniors win; everyone else looses.

    June 22, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  21. Enlightened Voter

    I know this bothers most repubs, they can't stand for the little guy to get a break at the expense of big corporations. Oh well. And rethugs, if you think medicare which is govt owned and runs very well and efficiently reeks of socialism then buy your own or your parents private insurance. No one is stopping you.

    June 22, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  22. Jessie, MT

    Okay you Republicans let President Obama have it. Then run out in the street and kick old people's canes from underneath them. You bunch of mean spirited losers.

    Thank you Mr. President, once again you are doing the right thing.

    Don't give in to the Repugs, they want you to fail. Do what you think is the right thing for America. We are with you.

    Your grandmother taught you well, and we are proud of you.

    June 22, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  23. Janice in Mississippi

    @ Mark,B'ham,Al.,

    "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."

    You are missing the point; your son is FORTUNATE enough to have a job. He is able to "show" responsibility. The 48 million uninsured Americans either cannot AFFORD the insurance premiums ( they have to buy gas, food, pay utilities) or they are UNEMPLOYED and do not have money to buy insurance or medications.

    The new administration is working to find the "formula" that will work best for the Country's uninsured citizens as well as what will be financially healthy for our insured citizens.

    Like the poster called "Melissa" stated, this is a tiny baby step in the right direction.

    June 22, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. Too True For You

    Right on katiec!

    Funny, I don't see all the republican Obama-haters logging in here to blast this latest accomplishment. Could it be.....oh, I don't know... because Obama's plans are WORKING?

    Cause: Obama moves on comprehensive medical coverage,and Effect: all of the sudden drug companies (out of the goodness of their hearts, surely) offer senior citizens a cost cut. I know cause and effect is a stretch for those who think bible study is science class, or republicans that like to deny the current global negative effects caused by years of republican misrule, but in the real world we beleive in those kinds of things. I think secretly conservatives do to, which is why they are the Party of No.

    June 22, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. Imarriedmy sister in TheOleSouth

    I should have gotten a big bag of money from big Pharma.Both parties are taking a payoff for this agreement.We have been sold down the river again.

    June 22, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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