A bet­ter way to save Medi­care

Modern Healthcare - - Opinions Letters -

Re: “Sen­a­tors of­fer bill to re­duce Medi­care spend­ing,” Mod­ern­Health­care.com, June 28: As Sens. Joe Lieber­man and Tom Coburn seek to re­duce Medi­care ex­penses, they might look at a New Eng­land Jour­nal of Medicine editorial from five years ago that sug­gested that $500 bil­lion over 10 years might be saved from out­law­ing pre­scrip­tion­drug ad­ver­tis­ing, as was the case be­fore a Clin­ton-era FDA ac­tion al­low­ing it and un­der­tak­ing mod­est re­forms of patent laws so new patents were not is­sued with an 18-year li­cense to charge what­ever the mar­ket will bear to drugs with mi­nor dosage changes or com­bin­ing of two drugs or very mi­nor com­po­si­tion changes.

Sim­i­lar $500 bil­lion cuts pro­posed in Oba­macare and pos­si­bly even Ryancare run the risk of lead­ing to health­care ra­tioning to se­niors and are un­ac­cept­able. Coburn and Lieber­man could lead the dis­cus­sion to­ward real sav­ings if they se­ri­ously looked at drug­cost sav­ings.

Kurt Hahn Healds­burg, Calif.

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