Longtime inequities in the Medicare program that deprive rural states like Iowa of millions of dollars will be fixed under the agreement reached Sunday by Congressional negotiators, according to Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. He says the portion of the plan adding prescription drug benefits will enable millions of the nation’s seniors and people with disabilities to get the proper medications. Grassley says those people, many of whom are low-income, will no longer have to chose between food and drugs or between heat and drugs. Democrat Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says the plan is “convoluted” and a boon to big business, not seniors. Harkin says it’s turned into a “sweet deal that will provide billions of dollars in bribes to private H-M-Os in the country” and “billions in profits to pharmaceutical companies.” Grassley, a Republican, disagrees with Harkin, saying the plan will wipe out the current “scheme” where drug companies keep generic drugs off the market. Grassley says people with joined plans will be able to negotiate for big discounts from the pharmaceutical companies. He says drug makers will also have competition from foreign drug producers and they’ll no longer have a monopoly in the U-S, bringing prices down. And as for the Medicare inequities, Grassley says the bill would mean at least another 440-million dollars for Iowa health care providers and hospitals.
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