Published Online: Saturday, December 1, 2007

While the cost of the new Medicare drug benefit is lower than originally predicted, it is still not low enough, critics of the program contend.

A new report issued by Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform concluded that Medicare Part D beneficiaries and taxpayers could have saved almost $15 billion in 2007 by negotiating discounts from pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies. These negotiations have produced prescription drug discounts for the Medicare program averaging 26%, the report said. In contrast, private insurers offering prescription drug coverage under Part D negotiated discounts of only about 8.1%.

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