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HHS’ new leader’s views on drugs

In testimony before Congress last week, Mike Leavitt, Secretary of HHS nominee, stated he did not believe the Secretary should have the ability or power to negotiate for drugs on behalf of Medicare recipients.
Here’s how the NYTimes reported it:
“Mr. Leavitt said he did not believe that the secretary should have the power to negotiate with drug manufacturers to secure lower prices for Medicare beneficiaries.
The current secretary of health and human services, Tommy G. Thompson, said last month that he wished Congress had given him that power. But Mr. Leavitt said that a healthy, competitive market was a better way to hold down drug prices.”
Huh? No fiduciary responsibility to his employers, the taxpayers? No mention of using the power of the position to encourage stronger competition? And this at a time when Medicare and Medicaid costs are accelerating at rates more than twice that of general inflation.
Kudos to for highlighting this…

Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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