For 56 years, Medicare has helped pay for medical care for Americans over the age of 65, as well as younger Americans with certain medical needs. Today marks Medicare’s anniversary and to celebrate, we are reflecting on the history of the program that benefits more than 60 million Americans.
Unfortunately, some members of Congress are considering significant changes to Medicare that could have a devastating effect on millions of Americans. Proponents call these changes government “negotiation,” but what they are actually proposing is anything but that. These politicians want to repeal a key provision of the Medicare Part D program that protects robust coverage and access to medicines for seniors and people with disabilities.
Rather than repealing important protections, we need to take a holistic approach to lowering what people pay out of pocket for medicines and ensuring Americans have access to the treatments their doctors prescribe. There are practical solutions policymakers can consider to modernize Medicare drug coverage and ensure it works even better for beneficiaries.
For example, in the Part D program, policymakers should cap annual out-of-pocket costs, lower cost sharing and make out-of-pocket costs more predictable. For Part B, which covers a wide range of health care services and coverage for physician office visits, hospital outpatient care and medical equipment, policymakers could take steps to ensure beneficiaries benefit more from the lower prices negotiated by large commercial purchasers in the private insurance market, which could save some seniors hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars each year.
We have to lower what patients pay for their medicines AND make sure patients are getting the medicines they need. There’s a way to do both. Learn more at PhRMA.org/BetterWay.
Gabby Migliara is a senior manager of public affairs at PhRMA focusing on the cost and value of medicines. She previously worked with the U.S. Census Bureau on marketing and communications for the 2020 Census campaign. Outside the office, Gabby enjoys trying new restaurants, hanging with her cat and exploring DC neighborhoods.