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SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 5
INTRODUCED BY J. TESTER, E. CLARK, B. BARNHART, S. KITZENBERG, D. ECK
A JOINT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA URGING THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS AND THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT TO TAKE ACTION TO REQUIRE COVERAGE OF THE COST OF LONG-TERM CARE AND PRESCRIPTION DRUGS BY THE FEDERAL MEDICARE PROGRAM.
WHEREAS, the ever-increasing cost of prescription drugs and long-term care is beyond the income of most senior citizens; and
WHEREAS, 30 years ago the average monthly Social Security check would more than cover a month's stay in a nursing home as well as pay the cost of prescription drugs, while today the average monthly Social Security check will not pay for 1 week's stay in a nursing home; and
WHEREAS, prescription drugs can be purchased in either Mexico or Canada for one-fourth to one-third of the cost in the United States; and
WHEREAS, the cost of research and development of prescription drugs in the United States is so high that pharmaceutical companies must sell their product for as great a price as the market will bear in order to recoup some of those research and development costs; and
WHEREAS, billions of dollars are wasted because Congress will not allow Medicare to use competitive bidding in ordering supplies and equipment; and
WHEREAS, according to government estimates, Medicare improperly paid approximately $23 billion in the 1997 fiscal year because of fraud and abuse.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
(1) That the United States Congress is urged to enact legislation to place long-term care and prescription drugs in the Medicare program and that in order to pay for these changes to the Medicare program, a serious effort to eliminate fraud and abuse be inaugurated and that Congress give Medicare the right to use competitive bidding for purchasing prescription drugs and other supplies.
(2) That the federal government is urged to take serious measures to eliminate fraud and abuse wherever it may be found in the expenditure of federal tax dollars.
(3) That the United States Congress review the necessity for statutes and regulations that contribute to the high cost of research and development of prescription drugs in the United States and revise or eliminate those statutes and regulations that cause or contribute to the high cost of research and development of those drugs.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Secretary of State send a copy of this resolution to the President of the United States, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the President of the United States Senate, and to each member of the Montana Congressional Delegation.
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