AARP Throws Its Muscle Behind Medicare Rx Drug Bargaining

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Medicarel Drug Plan

With the support of its 2.6 million members in New York, AARP is calling on the U.S. Senate to stand with the overwhelming majority of Americans and vote to give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices. AARP is thanking Senator Clinton and Senator Schumer for their public support of this important issue and calling on them to help convince their colleagues to do the same.

On Wednesday, April 4, AARP members throughout New York and across the country will be calling Senators and thanking them for supporting legislation that could help lower Medicare drug prices for 2.5 million Medicare beneficiaries in New York State and 43 million Medicare beneficiaries nationally.

According to a recent AARP poll, 86 percent of voting-age Americans want Medicare to leverage the buying power of Medicare members to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs. "Senators Schumer and Clinton have long supported our efforts to make prescription drugs more affordable. We look forward to working with them to pass legislation this year giving Medicare the power to bargain for lower drug prices," said Lois Aronstein, AARP New York State Director.

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Americans pay more than anyone else in the world for most brand-name drugs. In 2006, on average, brand name prescription drug prices increased 6.2 percent for a sample of 193 brand-name drugs widely used by older Americans. During that same period, general inflation was just 3.2 percent. Older Americans are the largest consumers of prescription drugs, with a typical senior taking four prescriptions daily.

"Drug prices are still too high," said AARP member Rosemarie Cola. "I've worked hard all of my life, but I'm struggling to pay for my medicine and make ends meet. I'm so thankful that Senators Clinton and Schumer support giving Medicare the power to bargain for lower prescription drug prices."

Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4, the "Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007" by a bipartisan vote of 255 - 170. AARP strongly supported H.R. 4 and is now putting its weight behind passing similar legislation in the Senate.

AARP is tracking key votes in the 110th Congress and reporting back to its 38 million members how Congress votes on legislation AARP members are interested in, like health care.

"Giving Medicare bargaining power is a key issue for our members, and we will be letting them know where their elected officials stand on this matter. Our members want AARP to represent their concerns in Washington, and are looking to us to keep them informed about how Congress responds to our efforts," said Aronstein.

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