Health researchers have suggested many changes for Medicare’s drug purchasing, including having Medicare negotiate directly with companies and creating a system in which doctors would be reimbursed without a direct link to what kinds of drugs are prescribed for patients. The current practice can create an incentive for doctors to, at times, favor newer and more expensive drugs over older ones.
Whatever Congress does, the margin paid to cancer doctors on drug sales appears likely to continue to drop, despite strong lobbying by industry groups.
“There is a sense that this will get reversed and fixed,” Ward said. “I don’t know that I believe that.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.