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The Clear Contrast on Prescription Drug Costs: Frankel v. Hasner

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Out of touch much? Hasner wants to spike the cost of prescription drugs and voted to weaken drug safety laws 

TALLAHASSEE, FL — The contrast between which candidate will stand up to protect seniors and keep the cost of healthcare down couldn't be more clear in the 22nd congressional district — and while Lois Frankel recently released a plan to combat Medicare fraud and abuse which would save taxpayers billions of dollars, Adam Hasner supports Congressman Paul Ryan's plan to end Medicare as we know it which would spike the cost of prescription medication for seniors by thousands of dollars every year. 

Hasner has rubber stamped an extreme Tea Party agenda which is out of touch with the values of Palm Beach and would raise the cost of prescription medications that seniors rely on by thousands of dollars every year. But even worse, in the Legislature Hasner voted to weaken prescription drug safety laws, putting the interests of Tallahassee lobbyists ahead of the safety of Florida seniors.  

"When it comes to standing up for Florida's seniors, the contrast couldn't be more clear: Lois Frankel will fight to protect vital programs like Medicare and Social Security, while Adam Hasner wants to spike the cost of prescription medications by thousands of dollars ever year," said Florida Democratic Party spokesman David Bergstein. "And while Lois has put out bold and innovative ideas to combat Medicare fraud abuse which would save taxpayers billions, Hasner caved to Tallahassee lobbyists and actually voted to weaken prescription drug safety laws, jeopardizing the medicine that seniors rely on. The contrast in this race has crystalized, and Hasner's support for Ryan's extremist budget which would end Medicare as we know it and raise the cost of healthcare is out of touch with Florida's values." 

BACKGROUND: 

Hasner on the Ryan Budget: “I Would Vote For The Plan Without Hesitation.” "Clearly, this is a debate - even a litmus test for many Republicans  that makes a lot of Republicans uncomfortable. But not Republican U.S. Senate candidate Adam Hasner, who is embracing Ryan's plan with gusto…'Unlike my opponents, I would vote for the plan without hesitation.'" [Tampa Bay Times, 5/25/11

Hasner doubled-down on his support for the Ryan Budget. Hasner: "I do. I support the Ryan budget plan."[CBS4 Facing South Florida, 8/20/2012,  5:16] 

Hasner would increase the cost of prescription drugs for seniors by $3,500 every year. "But the Affordable Care Act also uses its savings from Medicare to strengthen the program’s benefits, such as by closing the 'donut hole' that leaves about $3,500 in each senior’s prescription drug spending uncovered..The Romney-Ryan plan to reverse the ACA’s cuts weakens the trust fund considerably, and their plan to repeal the ACA as a whole would hit seniors’ new benefits as well." [Washington Post, 8/23/12

Hasner-Ryan Budget Would Cause Over 275,000 Florida Seniors To Pay $155 Million More For Prescription Drugs In 2012 Alone. Under Paul Ryan’s budget plan, more than 275,900 Florida seniors would “pay $155 million more for prescription drugs in 2012 alone.” [Democratic Policy and Communications Center, Ryan Budget Fact Sheet]

As if supporting raising the cost of prescription drugs wasn't bad enough, Hasner also voted weaken prescription drug safety laws after pressure from lobbyists. In May 2006, Hasner voted for a bill which, according to a St. Petersburg Times editorial, “would weaken Florida’s landmark effort to closely track prescription drugs from the manufacturer to the neighborhood store ... After a statewide grand jury investigated racketeering and counterfeiting in the drug industry, the 2003 Legislature took notice and passed meaningful reforms. Beginning in July 2006, each prescription drug would have to arrive at the pharmacy with specific ‘pedigree’ information detailing its travels from the manufacturer to the wholesaler to the retail outlet, and verifying details such as the amount and dosage. Consumer advocates and prosecutors say that sort of trail, either electronic or on paper, is vital to fighting counterfeiters and ensuring patients receive the drugs they believe they are buying ... Yet on the last night of the legislative session [in April 2006] ... lobbyists for the largest drug manufacturers persuaded lawmakers to amend an unrelated bill to exempt their clients from having to comply with the 2003 law.” The bill was passed by a vote of 93-20. [HB 371, Vote Seq. 1259, 5/05/06; Editorial, St. Petersburg Times, 6/11/06]

The budgets supported by Hasner would end Medicare as we know it. The budgets would: 

  • end Medicare’s guaranteed benefit;
  • the Congressional Budget Office estimated it will increase health care costs by an extra $6,359 by 2022 for future Medicare beneficiaries, while a household making between $50,000 and $100,000 would face a tax increase of at least $1,358;
  • protect $40 billion in tax breaks for big oil;
  • provide people earning more than $1 million a year with an average tax cut of $265,000;
  • create incentives for corporations to shift profits and jobs overseas. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, the budget would "essentially end medicare." 

[H Con. Res. 34, Vote #277, 4/15/11; H Con Res 112, Vote #151, 3/29/12; Center for American Progress, 3/20/12; Center for American Progress, 3/20/12; Center for Budget and Policy Priorities,3/27/12; Tax Policy Center, Table T12-0078 and T10-0132; Citizens for Tax Justice, 3/22/12; Joint Economic Committee, 5/20/11; Joint Economic Committee, 6/20/12]

The Tampa Bay Times wrote that under the Hasner-Ryan budget the "Rich get richer." "House Republicans envision a country where Americans would be increasingly on their own to afford food and medical care even when they are elderly, disabled or poor. It also would be a nation with a tax code that tilts further toward benefiting corporations and the wealthy.…Floridians should be concerned about all these misplaced priorities, but Medicare and Medicaid are particularly at risk…Congressional Republicans want to exacerbate the nation’s yawning income inequality while making life harder for those at the bottom.” [Tampa Bay Times, 3/31/12] 

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