Up in Montana, Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer is working on a plan that would let every Montanan get discounted medicine through Medicaid.It's the latest idea from Schweitzer to either import cheaper name-brand prescriptions or to otherwise bypass what he sees as exorbitant prices charged by "drug cartels." Previous plans have been shot down by the federal government as either illegal or impracticable.

Schweitzer, who has been critical of the health care overhaul passed by his fellow Democrats in Washington D.C., said he is drafting a federal request to let any Montanan voluntarily sign up for a special Medicaid prescription drug program.

He said Tuesday his program would let those people buy the drugs at the cheaper rate the state pays through prices negotiated by Medicaid. He will ask the federal government for an official Medicaid state plan amendment in a few weeks that he believes will cost the government nothing because it will just be passing along the discounted drugs it gets.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it cannot comment until it receives a formal Medicaid state plan amendment request.

"These things often change forms more than once before finally coming to us," said agency spokeswoman Mary Kahn.The governor made the comments Thursday in a meeting with a maker of generic drugs, Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, about ways that company could help the state use more of the cheaper medicine in favor of expensive brand-name alternatives.

The company told Schweitzer that Montana ranks well by using 71 percent generics in its state-run programs, but it pointed out Montana ranks behind leader Massachusetts, which uses 77 percent generics.

But Schweitzer's bigger plan is to put the spotlight on the big money the pharmaceutical industry makes by charging Americans more for its products. He said Congress is partly too blame, and he aims to point it out by requesting that every Montanan be allowed to pay the same price Medicaid does for medicine.

"They can't turn me down or they will look like they are bought and paid for by the drug lords," Schweitzer said.

Schweitzer has previously been shot down with plans to get federal approval to bring in cheaper drugs from Canada and to buy cheaper medicine given to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Brian Schweitzer was elected governor of Montana in 2004. In 2008, he gave a highly regarded speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. In his first term in office, he received high marks for delivering on his priorities outlined on inauguration day: incentives for bio-fuel and wind-energy production; an historic increase in public education spending along with a balanced budget and no new taxes; stronger protection of public lands for hunting, fishing and camping, and a purchasing-pool for small businesses who want to buy health insurance for workers but cannot afford it.


Land's picture
Land 9 years 8 weeks ago

"Government is the Problem" - a clever & carefully disseminated messaging by the Right Wing while, I believe, they systematically MADE GOVERNMENT THE PROBLEM.

You know the famous Reagan quote "GOVERNMENT is not the answer, it is the PROBLEM." & the REPUBLICAN administrations since then dedicated themselves to sabotaging our government's efforts to help the majority of Americans in every way they could think of....and they succeeded...

In the LAST 20 YEARS of REPUBLICAN POWER IN DC, the Republicans ran up record debts, & THEY MADE the "GOVERNMENT the PROBLEM" for the majority of the middle class & working American People. It is not difficult to find examples.

The recent long overdue settling of the Black farmers' claims

1) "Brownie is doin' a HECK OF A JOB"

2) Mine SAFETY regulations ignored. & the MASSEY MINE DISASTER finally happens,

3) FOOD & MEDICINE & all other commodities were DEREGULATED & the agencies that had been created to keep us safe have been DEFUNDED & staffed with people focusing on the Republican mission... so that the Corporations bottom line became the GOAL. They were PROFITABLE BUT DANGEROUS in many ways.

4) Education was sabotaged every way they could do so. Every cent of available government FUNDS for PUBLIC EDUCATION were spent by the Bush appointee to run the agency, NOT FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION but, instead to Advertise, Promote & PROP UP THE "FOR PROFIT" UNREGULATED CHARTER SCHOOLS" & NOW our students are failing miserably!

EPA, with it's staffing, HAS BEEN DESECRATED UP ONE SIDE & DOWN THE OTHER - for the Profit of Halliburton, Cheney, BP...etc. etc etc NO WONDER THE STAFF WAS PARTYING WITH THE OIL COMPANIES & other polluters & desecraters ...I believe that THAT WAS THEIR JOB under the Republicans.

THE SUPREME COURT has been FILLED with CORPORATE OPERATIVES with an extreme right wing agenda.

& the result is that THE CORPORATIONS ARE NOW "PERSONS" with more rights than human AMERICANS.

THE ELECTIONS HAVE BEEN MADE LESS DEMOCRATIC with hackable voting machines & voter purging, & now are manipulated for gain on our airwaves by the super wealthy GLUTTONS both American & Foreign with Billions on pushing their agenda.

Our Public Radio & Television have been defunded & given over to the Corporations on the sly, the Radio/TV stations are no longer REGULATED by the government effectively. They are not reliable, every panel is heavily slanted toward the GOP agenda ..OUR watchdogs heard the will of the people & did the will of the CEO's & GOP.

& DON'T GET ME STARTED ON THE BANKS & THEIR Gambling & SECRET SWINDLES of the Middle Class that are now buried from view!


Not before the last, almost 21, years of REPUBLICAN RAPE & PILLAGE OF OUR COUNTRY's WEALTH & CONFIDENCE for the benefit of the Country Club 1.5% Wealthiest GLUTTONS that ever existed. There has been a silent coup & I don't know whether Obama knows it, even now.

in summary:


WHAT HAS HAPPENED to the GOVERNMENT in the 21 years of Reagan/Bush/Bush/Clinton/Bush/

I strongly believe that OUR Governmental AGENCIES created to keep AMERICA & AMERICANS safe have been carefully & gradually sabotaged!!! While the messaging about them "not working for Americans" has been going out loud & clear over & over.

FIND & GET RID OF THE People working in our government that don't want it to work for the American people...like the partying EPA people gave Cheney & his friends & other CEO's the permission & ability rip the American people off in more ways than one (& created the conditions for the BP OIL SPILL!!!)

Or the Mining REGULATORS that gave MASSEY whatever he wanted until it killed those poor men & raped the land, mountains and rivers in West Virginia!!!I want the FDA to do it's job...especially since most of generics now come in from CHINA etc & the funding now is not adequate to check the safety of those imported cheap capsules of who knows what, masquerading as medications, nor keep track of anything like they used to do.TAKE BACK THE TAX CUTS FOR THE GREEDY WEALTHY PIGS & THE BANKSTERS & put OUR money back into our government to make it work for us....THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES!I want this administration to Go through EVERY AGENCY (FIND OUT WHO WAS LET GO & WHO WAS HIRED BY REPUBLICANS to REPLACE THEM & then evaluate the job the "new" folks have been doing over the last 20 years) - in order to identify, & root out, the problems & the saboteurs who were inserted into Our Government for the benefit of the CORPORATIONS & BANKS etc- & FIX OUR GOVERNMENT so that OUR GOVERNMENT WORKS for the American people AGAIN!!!!Respectfully!Land

Dewpoint 9 years 8 weeks ago

Gov. Schweitzer commented on the fact that the so called Prescription Drug Plan was set up to guarantee the highest prices for the pharmaceuticals while denying citizens the right to purchase drugs from outside the country at a fraction of the price. Congress justified outlawing civilians' purchases from Canada and Mexico due to concerns about the safety and possible lack of quality controls. However, for years now Wal-Mart has been selling drugs manufactured in India from a company that has a spotty history for quality and safety. see:


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