Opinion: Murkowski’s op-ed about drug prices is just lip service

The bill does nothing for families.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s editorial in the Thursday issue of the Juneau Empire is an insult.

First, she states, “Drug prices are hitting the budgets of everyday Americans and squeezing our government programs …” Congress passed a law prohibiting Medicare from negotiating prices with pharmaceutical companies, thus making Medicare patients pay more for prescription drugs. Congress is helping drive the drug prices up, not down, which is just what the drug companies want.

Second, she states that the bill Congress is considering “… would place a $3,100 annual cap for out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors and spread out payments for high-cost drug expenses.” Seniors who can’t afford the drugs now would not benefit from the cap. Spreading out payments doesn’t lower the cost to seniors and it is the high cost that is “killing” Americans, literally, because some people can’t afford the medicine that would save their lives. What about other people who aren’t seniors and can’t afford their medicine? The bill does nothing for families.

Third, she states, “The Senate bill would not derail innovation or undermine America’s system of free enterprise…” Congress passed legislation prohibiting the importation of prescription drugs, which is not free enterprise; it is a monopoly for American drug companies. We need prescription medications from other safe countries, such as Canada, where the prices are much lower, and Murkowski knows this but isn’t doing anything about it.

If Murkowski was really serious about lowering drug prices, she would be pushing to allow the importation of prescription drugs from Canada and to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices to reduce the cost of drugs for Americans. Instead, she pretending to be doing something meaningful when she is not.

Gary Miller,

Juneau


• Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.


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