HHS Secretary Burwell supports Medicare negotiations to tame drug prices

HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell advocated Monday for allowing Medicare to negotiate prices for certain high-priced drugs, according to a Kaiser Health News report.

"Those drug costs are continuing to grow," Secretary Burwell said at the National Press Club in the District of Columbia, according to the article. She also said, according to Kaiser Health News, that the issue is not whether Congress should give HHS the necessary power, but rather "what is the alternative?"

Though she addressed drug prices, Secretary Burwell's speech was primarily focused on defending the ACA, which could be repealed and replaced under President-elect Donald Trump's administration.

In her remarks, she touted the law's successes, noting that the nation's uninsured rate has dropped below 9 percent and that so far this year, 8.8 million people have received insurance coverage through HealthCare.gov.

But she acknowledged "there is more to do." For instance, in an exit memo released Friday, Secretary Burwell urged Congress to create a fallback public option "to ensure strong competition in insurance markets around the country."

In her remarks Monday, she also spoke out against Congress repealing the ACA without any replacement at all.

"Not only does this approach fail to tackle the many tough tradeoffs that come with real healthcare reform, it doesn't even succeed in delaying them," she said.


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