Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Medicare would save billions on drugs if it copied the VA

Data: Jama Internal Medicine; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Medicare would have saved an average of nearly $12 billion per year if it had the Department of Veterans Affairs' ability to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies, according to researchers writing in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. And that's just for 50 drugs.

Yes, but: Those savings would also require Medicare to say "no" to covering some drugs — a shift from the current policy, in which Medicare pays for almost all FDA-approved medications.

Veterans' private health care program led to longer waits

Trump holds up a signed VA mission act bill
Presidetn Trump signs "VA Mission Act of 2018." Photo: Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images.

The Department of Veterans Affairs program that sends more veterans to private hospitals and doctors has resulted in longer wait times and a higher taxpayer bill, ProPublica reports with PolitiFact. 

The big picture: The program was set up to help veterans avoid lengthy waits for care. Instead, veterans had to wait at least 30 days 41% of the time, and sometimes they had to wait as long as 70 days, according to government watchdog estimates

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