Patient groups criticize Dem calls for Medicare price negotiations

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Price negotiations are a long-standing Democratic priority, and the policy is getting a new push as Congress looks for ways to trim entitlement spending.

Negotiating drug prices — which critics say wouldn't be much of a negotiation, but rather simple price controls — would save the federal government more than $100 billion over 10 years.

But critics say it would threaten innovation in the pharmaceutical industry and potentially interfere with seniors' access to new, effective treatments.

The Heritage Foundation also criticized the policy Tuesday, as Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) reintroduced a measure to let the Medicare program bargain with drug makers.

Costs and premiums for the drug benefit have held steady since it was created in 2006, and Heritage said that's a product of robust competition among drug plans.

"Medicare Part D has exceeded expectations in the breadth of nationwide health plan participation, stable and low-cost premiums for Medicare beneficiaries, and a stunning 'bend in the cost curve' unique in the health sector of the economy. Competition works," Heritage Senior Fellow Robert Moffit said.