Republican candidate Jeff Lamberti says Iowa’s third district congressman, Leonard Boswell — a Democrat, was wrong to vote against the new Medicare prescription drug benefit for seniors. “There was no reason for anybody to vote against that bill,” Lamberti says. “We have thousands of low income seniors in Iowa who have prescription drug coverage now that they didn’t have before and I think it was a mistake for my opponent to vote against it.”
Boswell says he voted “no” because he objected to the part of the bill that bars the government from negotiating with drug-makers for bulk purchases that would yield cheaper prices for seniors. “I thought this is unreal, so I asked ‘How did that get in there?…And they said, ‘Well, the pharmaceutical (companies) wanted it.’ Well, it’s bad,” Boswell says.
But Lamberti says a federal study concluded seniors would get cheaper drugs, in the long run, if individual insurance companies negotiated with drug makers rather than having the U.S. government negotiate with the pharmaceutical industry. Lamberti says that’s been proven by the lower-than-expected premiums that seniors are paying for their prescription drug plans. “It was projected that the average premium would be about $37 and it’s about $24,” Lamberti says.
Boswell says he also voted against the bill because of its ban on importing cheaper prescription drugs from Canada. According to Boswell, states like Iowa and Illinois were “just on the verge” of striking deals that would have saved “a lot of money” by dispensing cheaper Canadian drugs to seniors and low-income people in their states who have the government picking up the bill for their medicine. “There (were) a lot of bad things in there,” Boswell says.
The candidates made their comments at a forum in Des Moines on Sunday morning.