Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle is proposing steps to make it easier for Iowa seniors to shop around for the lowest-priced prescription drugs. Nussle proposes a statewide telephone hot-line and a new website. The website would let seniors type in their zip code to compare prices at area pharmacies for the 20 most-commonly-prescribed medications.
“Where this has occurred in Florida we saw as much as 40 percent savings on some drugs and 30 percent kind of as an average of saving across the board,” Nussle says. “That’s pretty good.” Nussle contends the hot-line and website could save Iowa seniors up to ten million dollars a year because it will stimulate competition among pharmacies to offer the lowest prices.
“If you have information because of a big sign on the corner that says gas prices are $2.57 a gallon on one corner, there’s a good chance that the gas station on the other side of the street having now the information on what you’re charging is going to try to be competitive,” Nussle says. “That’s what we’re trying to promote in this is competitiveness, to try to help drive down the costs.”
Chet Culver, Nussle’s Democratic opponent, says Nussle should have done a better job as a member of Congress on the issue when the Medicare prescription drug benefit was devised for seniors. “There have been huge gaps in terms of prescription drug coverage. Our seniors across Iowa are having a very difficult time trying to sift through the dozens of different plans,” Culver says. “This is another example of a failure in Washington, D.C.” Culver says Iowans need to examine Nussle’s record as a congressman, not his rhetoric as a candidate.
Earlier today Culver was endorsed by the Iowa Professional Fire Fighters union which represents about 15-hundred Iowans. As Radio Iowa reported this morning, Nussle received the endorsement of the Iowa Right-to-Life Committee today. Kim Lehman, the group’s executive director, says Nussle has a “long-standing, pro-life record” and she chastised “the press and the public” for casting stones at Nussle over the past few days on the issue.
Nussle responded to a survey, saying abortion should only be legal in the first trimester of a pregnancy, but in a prepared statement the Iowa Right-to-Life Committee’s executive director dismissed that survey response as a mere “mistake” on Nussle’s part.