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Data shows voters strongly support protecting access to their medicines

Mark Keida   |     July 15, 2021   |   SHARE THIS

In our current health care system, the Medicare Part D program helps ensure seniors and people with disabilities have access to the prescription medicines they need. While more than 90% of seniors are very satisfied with their Part D prescription drug coverage and want to protect it, we also must tackle rising out-of-pocket costs for patients at a time when net prices for brand medicines are declining.

There are different proposals in Congress that address prescription drug pricing and out-of-pocket costs for patients. However, some proposals – under the guise of government “negotiation” – would actually repeal the key provision of Part D called the “non-interference” clause that protects robust coverage, choice of plans and access to medicines for seniors and people with disabilities. The decision to address prescription drug pricing in this way could ration patients’ access to medicines when better solutions exist to lower patient out-of-pocket costs.

Recent Morning Consult/PhRMA polling data reveals that voters are not single-minded on the issue. They want to get a better deal on medicines – lower costs at the pharmacy counter – but they do not want to sacrifice access or innovation. The bottom line is that voters have real concerns about what “negotiation” means for their access to medicines and strongly support protecting access.

Voters want to keep the current provision in the Medicare law that protects access and choice for seniors and people with disabilities.

  • 65% oppose changing the law in Medicare to allow the government to restrict access to medicines for seniors and people with disabilities in order to save money for the Federal government – including 57% of Democrats and 75% of Republicans.
  • 51% say we should keep the law that prohibits government interference in Medicare plans’ negotiations.

PhRMA_Catalyst_NIPolling_Graphic2

Voters do not want to sacrifice access and innovation.

  • 66% oppose allowing the government to dictate prices when they learn that it could lead to less research and development of new medicines and limit people’s access to new prescription medicines.
  • 49% are very concerned that repealing the law that prohibits government interference in existing negotiations in Part D would allow the government to restrict access to medicines.
  • 49% are very concerned it would take away power from doctors to prescribe the medicines that best meet the needs of seniors and people with disabilities.

Non-partisan, public polling shows similar findings about so-called Medicare negotiation overall: The more voters find out about it, the less they support it.

  • According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 66% of Americans oppose negotiations if it could lead to less research and development of new medicines, and 67% of Americans oppose it if it means Medicare might not cover some prescription medicines.
The Part D program isn’t perfect; new research shows that many beneficiaries face high and rising out-of-pocket costs on brand medicines. Instead of proposals that would repeal important patient protections and lack true public support, policymakers should instead focus on a better way to improve affordability for patients while protecting access and the future development of new cures and treatments.

Learn more about PhRMA’s work to build a better health care system here.
Mark Keida

Mark Keida Mark Keida, Ph.D. is a Deputy Vice President in Public Affairs. He leads PhRMA’s message and polling team, supporting advocacy communications, paid media campaigns and earned media. Mark specializes in using data to guide narrative, campaign strategy and tactics.

Topics: Part D, Medicare, Polling, Proactive Agenda

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