Seventy-eight Dem lawmakers urge supercommittee to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices

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The letter was spearheaded by Reps. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and George Miller (D-Calif.).

President Obama for his part has endorsed a more modest proposal that would extend drug rebates offered in the Medicaid program to low-income people on Medicare. The proposal has been estimated to save $135 billion over 10 years.

Former Sen. Norm Coleman's (R-Minn.) American Action Network is launching a $1.6 million mail and phone campaign in 56 districts and states lambasting the rebate proposal.

"President Obama and liberals in Washington are trying to shift the burden of deficit reduction to seniors through a proposal to introduce radical, Medicaid-style rebates to the Medicare Part D program," network president Brian Walsh said in a statement announcing the campaign. "This plan would result in higher premiums and higher prescription drug costs for millions of older Americans. The American Action Network wants to praise principled Members of Congress who are opposing this radical plan to balance the budget on the backs of America's seniors."

This post was updated at 4:15 p.m. after one additional member signed on to the letter