WH: $80 billion in prescription drug savings is there – trust us



The Obama White House cannot explain more than half of today’s announced $80 billion in prescription drug savings.

A senior official said the White House estimates $30 billion in savings will be achieved through drug companies reducing by at least 50 percent the cost of brand-name prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries who fall into the so-called coverage “donut hole.”

The other $50 billion in savings will come from unspecified and unknown changes to drug costs linked to Medicare and Medicaid.

The $80 billion in savings is a 10-year estimate.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday details on non-donut hole savings remain to be negotiated between the drug companies and the Senate Finance Committee.

“They’re still continuing to work through some of the details on that,” Gibbs said. “Some portion of this is going to go to the pharmaceutical interest — industry, making good on the savings proposals that the president has outlined to make health care more efficient, which will impact the amount that the government pays.”

But White House officials could not explain what drug companies will do to improve efficiency or how the drug companies will provide, on average, $5 billion in savings each year by giving Medicare or Medicaid lower prescription drug costs.

Considering they’ve been sooo honest with us up until this point on so many issues, of course we should just trust that that unexplainable $50 billion in savings will be in there eventually, right? 8-|

Related reading, via MM: The drug companies sell out

DC Metro trains collide – 6 dead and over 70 injured



WASHINGTON – A Metro train smashed into the back of another at the height of the Monday evening rush hour, killing at least six people and injuring scores of others as cars from the trailing train jackknifed into the air and fell atop the first.

One of the fatalities was a female train operator, Metro officials say. The woman’s name has not been released.

D.C. Fire Chief Dennis Rubin says more than 70 people were transported to hospitals. Of those, two people have life-threatening injuries and 50 are classified as “walking wounded” injuries.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier says people who believe their loved ones were on the train can dial 311.

“It looks to be the worst Metro accident in D.C. history,” D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty says.

Metro General Manager John Catoe says it appears one of the trains was stopped on the tracks awaiting permission to clear the station when another train came up behind it and slammed into the back of the train.

“I give my deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives today,” Catoe says. “This is an incredibly tragic event. We will get to the bottom and find out what happened.”

My condolences and prayers to the families go out as well. The pictures look horrifying.