By Sam Baker - 06/16/11 09:16 PM EDT
A group of House Democrats says Congress should let Medicare negotiate prescription drug prices as it seeks to cut spending on the program.
Sixty-seven House Democrats signed a letter Thursday to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) urging him to support the policy during bipartisan negotiations over spending cuts to accompany an increase in the debt ceiling.
Negotiating drug prices would save $156 billion over 10 years, the lawmakers said, citing a report prepared by congressional Democrats in 2008.
The letter also mentions a proposal to extend Medicaid drug rebates so they apply to patients who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. House and Senate Democrats introduced bills on the issue earlier Thursday.
Both proposals would find savings in Medicare without cutting benefits. Democrats revived the two longstanding priorities after Republicans criticized them for blasting the GOP's Medicare plan without producing an alternative.