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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 MatsuiOvernight Health Care: CDC panel recommends who gets vaccine first | McConnell offering new relief bill | Hahn downplays White House meeting on vaccines Cyberattack forces shutdown of Baltimore County schools for the day Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg and Dorsey return for another hearing | House passes 5G funding bill | Twitter introduces 'fleets' MORE (D-Calif.) and Rep. Brett GuthrieSteven (Brett) Brett GuthrieHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg and Dorsey return for another hearing | House passes 5G funding bill | Twitter introduces 'fleets' House approves legislation providing 0 million to boost US 5G efforts Ensuring more Americans have access to 5G technology 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) CusackThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Election Day has arrived Law enforcement braces for unrest after Election Day The Hill's 12:30 Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association -Trump enters debate week after NYT obtains his tax returns 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 TrumpFederal watchdog accuses VOA parent company of wrongdoing under Trump appointee Lawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list Ivanka Trump gives deposition in lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds 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.