Obama: Deal is 'turning point' in health reform

June 21, 2009 05:30

The pharmaceutical industry has agreed to spend $80 billion over a decade to defray the cost of health care reform and improve coverage for the elderly, causing President Barack Obama to say the nation is at "a turning point" in his effort to bring health insurance to all Americans. After secretive negotiations involving key lawmakers and the White House, the pharmaceutical industry agreed Saturday to improve drug benefits in the government's Medicare program for the elderly, narrowing a gap in prescription coverage. While the changes in the prescription drug program would directly lower government costs, several officials also said the industry agreed to measures that would give the Treasury more money under federal health programs. In particular, officials said drug companies would likely pay higher rebates for certain drugs under Medicaid, the government program that provides health care for the poor.

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