Fewer Jobs, lower wages

Voting for the TPP means fewer jobs and lower wages for American workers. This is because it fails to address currency manipulation; has incredibly weak rules of origin on autos and auto parts; and fails to level the playing field in terms of state-owned enterprises and labor and environmental standards.

All the rhetoric being used to pitch the TPP has been heard before. NAFTA and CAFTA were supposed to end undocumented immigration. The Colombia Free Trade Agreement was supposed to solve the long-standing issues of violent repression of labor unionists. And the Korea FTA was going to create 70,000 jobs. Not one of these promises has been fulfilled.

The evidence from 20 years of the corporate trade agenda is in. Leading economists including Jared Bernstein, Joseph Stiglitz and Robert Reich agree that the TPP—as currently drafted—won’t work for working families.

Higher Prescription Drug Prices

The Alliance for Retired Americans, Doctors Without Borders, AARP and Oxfam America agree: TPP contains extreme patent protections for name-brand pharmaceuticals that threaten to restrict access to cheaper lifesaving medicines in all TPP countries, including in the United States.

TPP contains a lengthy patent exclusivity period for certain types of drugs – including biologics, special drugs used to treat cancer and arthritis. This will make it more difficult for other companies to manufacture the cheaper generic versions of drugs – leading to higher costs for everyone.

TPP jeopardizes the government’s ability to list and price prescription drugs in public programs, like Medicare, which millions of seniors and disabled people rely on. More specifically, foreign corporations or subsidiaries will be able to challenge Medicare if drug pricing in these programs affects their profits. .

Furthermore, the Medicare drug discounts negotiated under the Affordable Care Act could be in jeopardy. The ACA, which closed the infamous Medicare Part D “donut hole” when it was passed in 2010, made sure that drug discounts are established by statute. This could be challenged if pharmaceutical companies determine that these discounts put the drugs at below “fair market” prices.

Finally, TPP could tie the hands of future Congresses to negotiate drug prices under Medicare or enact a Medicare drug rebate program, which would save Medicare $121 billion over 10 years.

Americans pay the highest prescription drug prices in the industrialized world, and last year drug prices went up by 13 percent. That’s more than eight times the rate of inflation in a single year! We think Congress should be working on ways to reduce drug costs, rather than making this problem worse. This is not the time to support an agreement that could further increase drug costs to consumers and the government while lining the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry.

The members of the Alliance for Retired Americans will be paying close attention to what our leaders do and so should anyone else who needs Medicare or prescription drugs. Similar to other free trade bills that have been negotiated in secret, TPP is a bad deal for older Americans and working people. We’ve seen it before. From NAFTA to CAFTA, to the most recent agreements with South Korea and Colombia. Please oppose the TPP. The well-being of America’s senior citizens may depend on it.

Please urge your congressional representatives to oppose the TTP.