A Prescription To Negotiate

The senate is prepared to vote on whether the government should negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices under Medicare, a move that could save money for the old and disabled.

Robert Hayes, President of the Medicare Rights Center and Michael Cannon, Director of Health Policy studies at CATO, joined CNBC’s Mark Haines earlier on "Morning Call" to debate whether the government should directly negotiate prices with the drug companies.

“It’s obviously that when you buy in bulk, you can lower costs,” said Hayes, who is in favor of the government negotiating prescription prices. “The American taxpayer should not be the ones holding up the entire pharmaceutical industry.”

It is counterproductive to deprive consumers of the market power as drug prices remain difficult for many to afford, Hayes said.

However, Cannon argues that while this might save money in the short-term, it will be expensive in the long-term.

“We would be shifting costs from current seniors to future seniors,” said Cannon. While Cannon believes that taxpayers are paying too much for prescription drugs, he says that slapping price controls will not help. “Let the consumers make the decisions," said Cannon.