What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : The Chronically Ill : S Con Res 18. Fiscal 2006 Budget Resolution/Vote to Allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to Negotiate Cheaper Drug Prices for America's Seniors. (2005 senate Roll Call 60)
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S Con Res 18. Fiscal 2006 Budget Resolution/Vote to Allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to Negotiate Cheaper Drug Prices for America's Seniors.
senate Roll Call 60     Mar 17, 2005
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

On average, Americans pay more for their prescription drugs than do citizens of any other country in the world. In an effort to lower prescription drug prices for elderly Americans, Senator Snowe (R-ME) offered an amendment to the 2006 Budget Resolution-a blueprint for taxing and spending priorities in the upcoming year and beyond-which would have allowed the Secretary for Health and Human Services to negotiate with drug manufacturers for lower prescription drug prices under the Medicare program. Progressives voted in favor of Snowe's proposal based on their view that the enormous purchasing power of Medicare should be used to leverage cheaper drug prices from pharmaceutical companies; savings would then be passed on to consumers and taxpayers. Senator Wyden (D-OR) explained the purpose of Snowe's amendment in colorful terms: "Without this proposal, Medicare is going to be like a fellow standing in line at the Price Club buying toilet paper one roll at a time. Nobody in America shops that way. If one is buying a car or buying anything at a store, they try to get the best value." Conservatives opposed Snowe's amendment and argued that reforms to Medicare enacted in 2003 should be allowed to take effect before further changes are made (those reforms are scheduled to take effect in 2006). Senator Grassley (R-IA) commented that "I have urged everybody to hold off on changing anything in the prescription drug bill until you actually see it functioning. It seems to me to be very difficult to work on a piece of legislation like this and try to change it before it has been operational." On a close 49-50 vote, the Snowe amendment was rejected and provisions were not added to the 2006 Budget Resolution to allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate cheaper drug prices for America's seniors.

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