More affordable drugs could be available to Americans on Medicare. The Obama administration has reached a deal with pharmaceutical companies, who said they’d provide $80 billion in drug discounts to the federal government over 10 years to help reduce health care costs.  The deal was endorsed by the AARP.

Easing a Burden
The discounts are expected to close a gap in Medicare Part D coverage that requires some Medicare recipients to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket on prescriptions drugs.

“This gap in coverage has placing a crushing burden on many older Americans who live on fixed incomes and can't afford thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses,” said President Obama in a statement Monday.

Proposed health care reforms, which the president wants decided on this year, should cut by 50% the amount paid by some Medicare recipients for prescription drugs.

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The Landscape
“Our goal, our imperative, is to reduce the punishing inflation in health care costs while improving patient care,” the president said.  “And to do that we're going to have to work together to root out waste and inefficiencies that may pad the bottom line of the insurance industry, but add nothing to the health of our nation.”  

Last month, the President met with hospital, insurance industry, medical device and pharmaceutical company representatives as well as physicians to discuss ways to lower health care costs.

Related Links:
5 Ways Obama's Health Plan Will Affect You

Where to Find Help Paying for Prescriptions

Medicare Drug Plan: What's Covered, What's Not