Ariel Gonzales, a spokesman for AARP, expressed the organization's "strong support for the Medicare Drug Savings Act."
Gonzales urged Congress to think about half of all seniors who live on annual incomes of less than $23,000 a year. Prescription drugs play a major role in curing diseases and making Americans healthy.
"Medicare does not currently benefit, like other programs do, from rebates like the one proposed in this bill," Gonzales said.
He said the legislation would save $141 billion over the next 10 years, without negatively impacting Medicare Part D benefits.
The new legislation, Rockefeller said, would require pharmaceutical companies to give rebates to nearly 90,000 West Virginians eligible for the low-income subsidy plan in the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program.
Today, drug manufacturers provide rebates for other Medicaid beneficiaries, Rockefeller said, and previously provided the same rebates for people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.
After Medicare Part D was created in 2006, "drug companies no longer had to provide these rebates and they have been unfairly making more money off of prescription drugs ... at the taxpayers' expense," Rockefeller said.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.