Jan 152015
 

With prices climbing rapidly each year, prescription drugs now cost more in America than in nearly every other nation. Advocates say our capita drug spending is about 40% higher than in Canada, 75% greater than in Japan and nearly triple the amount spent in Denmark. Since 2007, drug prices have more than doubled for dozens of established drugs used to treat multiple sclerosis, cancer, blood pressure and more. Fifteen new cancer medications introduced in the past five years cost patients more than $10,000 a month. Since medication is often a large portion of an elderly person’s budget, these Americans feel the pinch of high drug prices the most. Advocates say the cost of prescription drugs could be reduced by about $60 per prescription by using more FDA-approved generic medications and by allowing foreign-made drugs to be sold here. Generic competition typically lowers drug prices by 85-90%. However, large pharmaceutical companies often pay generic drug makers to delay marketing a generic version of their drug to keep the price of the original medication high. Critics claim this “pay for delay” tactic benefits both brand name and generic drug makers, but is bad for consumers who foot the bill for more than $1 billion in higher drug prices annually. Pharmaceutical companies warn that foreign-made drugs may lack the quality assured to consumers by FDA-approved medications. However, researchers recently purchased foreign-made pharmaceuticals from the Internet and compared them to FDA-approved drugs. They found these drugs proved to be safe and effective medications.

Another reason for our exorbitant drug prices is because Congress prohibited Medicare from negotiating lower prices with drug companies when it passed Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage in 2006. Critics say “the drug lobby worked hard to ensure Medicare wouldn’t be allowed to cut into the profits which would flow to big Pharma thanks to millions of new customers delivered to them by Part D.” The Dept. of Veteran Affairs and Medicaid routinely negotiate lower prices with drug makers, who say that lowering their prices would deter the research and production of new drugs. However, studies have shown that half of all scientifically innovative drugs approved from 1998 to 2007 resulted from research at universities and biotech firms, not big drug companies. Moreover, other studies have shown these companies spend one-third of all sales revenue on marketing their products – roughly twice what they spend on research and development.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current prescription drug policy

I support declaring that pay-for-delay settlements are presumed to be anticompetitive and unlawful, and authorizing the Federal Trade Commission to enforce the law by initiating legal proceedings, and wish to identify a legislator who will either reintroduce S.214 – Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act (113th Congress 2013-2014), or a similar version thereof

I support amending Medicare part D of the Social Security Act to negotiate with pharmaceutical manufacturers the prices that may be charged to Medicare part D prescription drug plan, and wish to identify a legislator who will either reintroduce H.R.1102 – Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2013 (113th Congress 2013-2014), or a similar version thereof.

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

About 16,000 nursing homes are residences to more than 1.5 million mostly elderly Americans. These people reside at nursing homes for an average of 835 days. However, many of these people are not living in nursing homes by choice. More than 80% of all our elderly say they would prefer to die at home if they could. Even so, it is estimated that nearly half of all elderly Americans will move into nursing homes before dying. A recent study verified the rampant abuse of residents at some of these facilities. It found that one in three nursing homes had been cited for abuse violations within a two year span. Advocates say that nursing home abuse is underreported by residents who fear reprisal. Other studies have found that more than 90% of our nursing homes have staffing levels that are below minimum acceptable standards. There is compelling evidence that staff ratios are strongly linked to the quality of care in all nursing homes.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.2864 – Nursing Home Patient Protection and Standards Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current nursing home policy and wish to defeat H.R.2864

I support improving oversight of nursing facilities under the Medicare and Medicaid programs by preventing inappropriate influence over surveyors; requiring testing programs in skilled nursing facility (SNF) survey and certification techniques to be sufficiently rigorous to ensure that surveyors are adequately prepared to survey and certify SNFs in a consistent and accurate manner; directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish requirements for the qualification and compensation of members of a survey team; ensuring a state employs an adequate number of individuals as members of survey teams to assure adequate oversight of SNFs, and wish to pass H.R.2864

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia. It causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging but age is an indicator of when this disease strikes. The vast majority of people with AD are 65 or older. However, early-onset Alzheimer’s, accounting for about 5% of all AD cases, affects patients who are in their 40’s. There is no cure for this disease which worsens as it progresses and eventually leads to death. Alzheimer’s disease is now America’s sixth leading cause of death. Alzheimer’s patients live an average of 8 years after their symptoms become noticeable to others. More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease today but as many as half of these people have never been diagnosed. Our baby boom generation has reached the age when Alzheimer’s symptoms begin to appear. By 2030, the 80 million Americans who make up this generation will comprise about 20% of our population. It is expected that by then, these sufferers will number at least 8 million Americans.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.1619 – Making Investments Now for Dementia Act of 2013

H.R.2975 – To amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize grants for training and support services for Alzheimer’s patients and their families

S.709 & H.R.1507 – Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education for Alzheimer’s Act

I oppose reforming current Alzheimer’s Disease policy and wish to defeat H.R.1619, H.R.2975, and S.709 & H.R.1507
I support issuing bonds to help fund Alzheimer’s research and wish to identify a legislator who will either reintroduce H.R.1619 – Making Investments Now for Dementia Act of 2013 (113th Congress 2013-2014), or a similar version thereof

I support authorizing grants for training and support services for Alzheimer’s patients and their families and wish to identify a legislator who will either reintroduce H.R.2975 – To amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize grants for training and support services for Alzheimer’s patients and their families (113th Congress 2013-2014), or a similar version thereof

I support efforts for Medicare to provide comprehensive Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis and services, and wish to identify a legislator who will either reintroduce S.709 or H.R.1507 – Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education for Alzheimer’s Act (113th Congress 2013-2014), or similar versions thereof

 Posted by at 12:00 am