King once again had an opportunity to stand up for his constituents but voted with his pharmacutical company contributors.
The bill 'H. R. 4: To amend part D of title XVIII of the Social Security Act to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower covered part D drug prices on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries.' pretty much explains itself in the title.
The point is to work out a price plan with pharmacutical companies to help people especially seniors afford thier medication. Or as the bill puts it "(1) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary shall negotiate with pharmaceutical manufacturers the prices (including discounts, rebates, and other price concessions) that may be charged to PDP sponsors and MA organizations for covered part D drugs for part D eligible individuals who are enrolled under a prescription drug plan or under an MA-PD plan."
Right now there is a huge hole in the Part D coverage that gives many beneficiaries the choice of vital medication or food. Not both.
Peter King voted "NO" on this bill.
Here is some background via CBS News on the current problems with Part D coverage that King wants to keep intact.
"For all patients, Medicare covers 75 percent of the first $2,250 worth of drugs. But after that, coverage drops to zero — and doesn't resume until the patient hits $5,100 in expenses. Then Medicare kicks in again, paying 95 percent of costs. But it's this gap — of almost $3,000 — that many sick and disabled seniors call unaffordable.
"For Paul Jutras, who takes 14 medicines every day, the Medicare drug benefit seemed to stop as soon as it began.
"Asticol was $253.30," he says. "They paid nothing. And I paid 253.30."
The problem is that he's fallen into a gap in coverage called the "doughnut hole" — in which seniors pay for all of their drugs themselves. On Jutras' low income, and with this many prescriptions, he's trying to decide which drug not to take.
"I've had congestive heart failure," he says, "so giving up one of those prescriptions can really be fatal for me."
Why doesn't King care about people like Paul Jutras?