Saturday, October 24, 2009

First Question: Healthcare Reform Forum

Rolfes: Format questions submitted by viewers. Audience questions as well. Closing statements 2-3 minutes.

First question:
As a senior citizen, concerned about rising costs of Medicare. How will this affect Medicare.

Senator Landrieu: No one plan yet. Several versions. Different versions in each bill. Generally, we are trying to get the waste and fraud out of Medicare and to strengthen it. Prescription drug program has the doughnut, so we are trying to eliminate the doughnut. Idea is to take action to control costs because it is not sustainable as it is now. Must be careful to preserve it. 13 percent of Louisiana is on Medicare. Government run, and it's done pretty well.

Dr. Prudhomme: There are concerns. Overutilization of ERs would help control cost.

Robichaux: Medicare Part D needs improving. Doughnut is tough on seniors, good for drug companies. Wrote paper on the bill before it became law. Pharmaceutical companies derive most benefits. Government not allowed to negotiate. Lose benefits if you don't join. Businesses have a provision in the bill that would let corporations make money if transfer costs of retiree benefits to retirees. Good to know working to correct that.

Landrieu: I have a slightly different view. Some like Medicare Advantage a lot. Trying to figure out how to keep best parts of it. Maybe letting government negotiate prices is the way to control the cots.

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