In case you missed it, Saturday, July 30, marked the anniversary of Medicare. For 57 years, Medicare has helped pay for medical care for Americans over the age of 65, as well as younger Americans with certain medical needs. 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.
While Medicare works well for millions of Americans, 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 could lower cost sharing and make out-of-pocket costs more predictable. For Part B, which covers a wide range of health care services, physician office visits, hospital outpatient care and medical equipment, policymakers could take steps to ensure patients 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.
And while the latest reconciliation proposal does improve affordability in Medicare Part D to a certain degree, it doesn’t do nearly enough and disincentivizes the research and development needed to find new treatments and cures. Make no mistake, government price setting could mean fewer new medicines in the coming years. That’s why voters have made clear they do not support policies such as so-called Medicare “negotiation” as included in the reconciliation package once they learn how these policies threaten patient access and future innovation. Rather than proceed with proposals that jeopardize patient access to lifesaving treatments, Congress should focus on bipartisan solutions that would meaningfully address out-of-pocket costs for patients.
Learn more about why government price setting is bad policy and better ways Congress could help patients access and afford their medicines.
Topics: Medicare, Policy Solutions, Government Price Setting