Our new hero of the moment: Chris Van Hollen

Chris Van Hollen prescription drugs

Looks like the issue of affordable prescription drugs, already swept under the rug once this session, will be put back on the table in Congress this week. From the Washington Post:

Rep. Chris Van Hollen is preparing legislation that would allow states to make prescription drugs more affordable for low- and moderate-income Americans, a challenge to Bush administration policies that have thwarted such efforts.

Van Hollen, D-Md., said he will introduce a bill early this week allowing states to use their purchasing power to require drug companies to provide discounts on medications for low-wage workers.

Under the proposal, states could negotiate the same breaks they get for people on Medicaid, the state-federal health care program for the poor.

The savings — about 40 percent on the retail price — would be passed on to those with no drug coverage and incomes less than three times the federal poverty level, which is $10,210 for an individual or $20,650 for a family of four.

Patients would get discount cards to present at their pharmacies. States could penalize nonparticipating drugmakers by making their medicines less available.

Chris, we’re afraid you’re about to get squashed by Big Pharma. But we appreciate the sentiment nonetheless.

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