Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sen Schumer Endorses Craig Johnson for State Senate

Last Sunday, for those that missed it, Chuck Schumer endorsed Craig Johnson for State Senate.

Here's the press release:

At Federal and State Levels, Schumer and Johnson Vow to Empower Medicare and State to Negotiate With Giant Drug Companies For Best Prices
Seniors and Others Stand To Gain
Schumer Endorses Johnson as the "Best Hope for Reform and Change in Albany"

U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer joined Democratic State Senate candidate Craig Johnson in Great Neck on Sunday to formally endorse Johnson and to discuss the need for passing federal and state legislation to lower prescription drug prices. Johnson is a Nassau County Legislator running in a special election scheduled for February 6th.

"I strongly support Craig Johnson's election to the State Senate. New Yorkers are hungry for lower property taxes, affordable health care and responsive government. As State Senator, Craig Johnson will be a force for reform and responsible government," said Schumer.

Schumer and Johnson highlighted the need for immediate action to lower prescription drug prices. Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that requires the federal government to negotiate for lower prices for prescription drugs for the Medicare program. Schumer said he would push the Senate Finance Committee to take up the legislation shortly.

"If your company wants to buy 10 new vans, then Ford Motor gives you a fleet discount. But if the government is buying 10 million pills for people on Medicare, current law actually prevents us from negotiating a discount. It hurts New Yorkers, it hurts seniors around the country, it's outrageous, and it has to stop," Schumer said.

"Allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices with the giant pharmaceutical companies can lead to a drop in drug costs for New York's senior citizens, and it is at the top of the Democrats' agenda," Schumer added

Johnson thanked Schumer's efforts on the federal level, and announced his support for a state-level prescription drug purchasing program. "New Yorkers are fortunate that Sen. Schumer will lead the fight for lower Medicare prescription drug prices. With a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate, we're starting to see real change coming out of Washington. We need to change the culture in Albany so New York can act on the state level too," said Johnson.

"Insurance companies and government agencies can negotiate lower drug prices for the people they serve," Johnson said. "But New Yorkers without health insurance have no buying power and they have no one to negotiate on their behalf. The result is higher pharmacy bills for individuals and higher Medicaid costs that increase our property taxes."

Johnson said he would fight for legislation that Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno has blocked. "We need to change the culture of Albany, so that government works for the people not special interests like the big drug companies. I will be Eliot Spitzer's partner fighting for affordable health care and prescription drugs for every New Yorker."

Johnson called for using New York State's vast bargaining power to reduce the prices the State and individual New Yorkers pays to large drug companies and pharmacy chains for prescription drugs. The concept is similar to one used successfully in the state of Maine. Anticipated savings for New York consumers would average about 30 percent off retail prices. Approximately 1.6 million adults would benefit from the discount prescription drug plan.

Afterwards Schumer and Johnson met voters at Bruce's Bakery.

Schumer, the third ranking democrat in the new majority, is also the Chair of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and has been widely credited with orchestrating the Democrats' stunning takeover of the United States Senate in 2006. "Craig Johnson is just the kind of person who can jump start in New York the same change that democrats brought to Washington – he is honest, hard working and responsive to the needs of the middle class families that populate this district," said Schumer.

Johnson is a candidate for the 7th Senate District seat vacated by Michael Balboni, the incumbent State Senator. Balboni resigned from his seat to serve as Director of Homeland Security under Governor Spitzer.

The district encompasses the entire town of North Hempstead. It also includes the communities of Elmont, Floral Park, South Floral Park, Stewart Manor, Bellerose, Franklin Square, and part of Hicksville.
21 more days until Election Day!

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