Lawmakers map out path forward on Medicare Part D

Lawmakers map out path forward on Medicare Part D
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Rep. Doris MatsuiDoris Okada MatsuiDemocrats demand FCC act over leak of phone location data Blood cancer patients deserve equal access to the cure Hillicon Valley: Tech grapples with California 'gig economy' law | FCC to investigate Sprint over millions in subsidies | House bill aims to protect telecom networks | Google wins EU fight over 'right to be forgotten' | 27 nations sign cyber rules pact MORE (D-Calif.) and Rep. Brett GuthrieSteven (Brett) Brett GuthrieShimkus announces he will stick with plan to retire after reconsidering Hillicon Valley: Tech grapples with California 'gig economy' law | FCC to investigate Sprint over millions in subsidies | House bill aims to protect telecom networks | Google wins EU fight over 'right to be forgotten' | 27 nations sign cyber rules pact House bill aims to secure telecom networks against foreign interference MORE (R-Ky.) put forward their ideas for improving Medicare Part D during an event on Tuesday at a time when seniors are facing rising out-of-pocket costs and fewer options for affordable medications. 

“My fix is that you have to look at the whole thing, and this is a shared responsibility," Matsui told moderator Steve Clemons at The Hill's "Cost, Quality and Care: The Medicare Equation" event, sponsored by Astellas Pharma US. 

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"The federal government can’t just offload it on to the beneficiaries, or to the plans to the manufacturers. We are all in this together," she continued.

Matsui, who sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, pointed to the issue surrounding the rising cost of single-source drugs, which are brand name drugs that do not have a generic alternative.

"The market can only go a certain distance. For instance, with high-cost drugs, for particularly those particularly terribly ill, many of them [drugs] are single-source," she said. "In many cases, the beneficiary pays a certain amount, and then the plans are responsible. So we really feel that something there is wrong in a sense there's no competition there, so it only goes a certain length of time." 

As part of his path forward on the program, Guthrie suggested moving forward on the issue of generic drugs as a part of the Medicare program. 

“A lot of it is how do we get generics adopted quicker and how do we add generics to the market place quicker," Guthrie, who also is on the Energy and Commerce Committee, told The Hill's editor-in-chief Bob CusackRobert (Bob) CusackHill editor-in-chief reacts to fifth Democratic debate The Hill's Morning Report — Schiff: Clear evidence of a quid pro quo Hill editor-in-chief: Buttigieg could benefit if impeachment reaches Senate MORE in a separate interview. 

The congressman struck a bipartisan tone when asked about any potential agreement, saying we could see progress as soon as this fall. 

"This fall would probably be the right time to get it done by," he said. "You can put a group together and say let's hammer out some true drug pricing, transparency, drug pricing strategies." 

"We can really sit down and hammer out I think a deal that the president would sign that would make life better for people in the country," he added. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers release defense bill with parental leave-for-Space-Force deal House Democrats expected to unveil articles of impeachment Tuesday Houston police chief excoriates McConnell, Cornyn and Cruz on gun violence MORE has long bemoaned rising drug costs in the pharmaceutical industry and has moved recently to lower prices. 

Earlier this month, Department of Health and Human Services sent the White House a proposal, aiming to lower certain drug prices in Medicare by connecting them to the lower prices paid in other countries, known as the international pricing index.

The idea is vehemently opposed by the pharmaceutical industry and is a departure from the GOP's free-market dogma. 

It is unclear what kind of changes the White House will make to the proposal, and how long the reviewal process will take.