- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 20, 2015

Nearly three quarters of Americans think prescription drug costs are unreasonable, according a poll released Thursday that finds Americans feel they’re paying more than consumers in Canada, Mexico and Western Europe for the same drugs.

Unlike the dispute over Obamacare, which breaks along along partisan lines, concern about drug costs spans both parties, the Kaiser Family Foundation says in its August tracking poll.

More than eight in 10 Americans favor both requiring drug companies to disclose more detail on how they set their prices and allowing the federal government to negotiate with the companies to get a lower price for Medicare recipients.

Three quarters of Republicans say increased market competition would drive down prices, while a majority of Democrats prefer more regulation.

More than half of those polled say they had a somewhat or very unfavorable view of drug companies, putting them in line with health insurers but far worse off than doctors, who enjoy favorable ratings from 78 percent of respondents.

The results, coupled with Kaiser findings in April that found prescriptions drugs were a top concern among Republicans, suggest that drug prices might share the stage with Obamacare as politicians and presidential candidates debate the future of health care.

The pharmaceutical lobby said it’s part of the solution to rising costs, stamping out disease with groundbreaking medicines so medical bills don’t mount.

“The cancer death rate in the U.S. has fallen 22 percent since its peak, new hepatitis C therapies have cure rates above 90 percent and the death rate from cardiovascular disease has dropped 31 percent in the last decade,” PhRMA, a leading trade group, said in a statement. “To ensure this progress continues, we need a health care system that recognizes the value of medicines and incentivizes researchers to invest the significant time and cost that are required to develop new treatments and cures for patients.”

Meanwhile, Kaiser’s poll says opinions about the 2010 health law remain largely unchanged, with 44 percent favoring the law and 41 percent opposing it.

Opinion about the 2010 health law remains largely unchanged, with 44 percent favoring the law and 41 percent opposing it.

Three quarters of Democrats (76 percent) favor the law, while an almost an equal share (71 percent) of Republicans oppose it.

Nearly three in 10 say Congress should expand what the law does, and an equal share wants full repeal. The rest say Congress should implement the law as is (22 percent) or reel it in a bit (12 percent).

Pollsters found that those who favor repeal are steadfast in their position.

“Although those who want the law repealed disagree about what Congress should do, they are unified in their unwavering desire for repeal,” the pollsters said. “After being told that about 19 million people would become uninsured if the health care law were to be repealed, only 3 percent are swayed to say they no longer favor repealing the law.”


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