Advocating to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

Deane BeebeInside Medicare Rights0 Comments

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Medicare Rights continues to support efforts and advance policies that make prescription drugs more affordable and do not otherwise increase costs or reduce access to care for older adults and people with disabilities.

This summer, Medicare Rights President Joe Baker was a panelist at a Capitol Hill briefing, “Tackling Prescription Drug Prices: An Examination of Proposed Medicare Part D Reforms,” an educational event hosted by the National Coalition on Health Care to shed light on proposed reforms to Medicare Part D, identify the trade-offs involved, and explore the impacts on people with Medicare.

Joe Baker at Capitol Hill briefing.

Citing data from the most recent Medicare Rights helpline trends report that show too many older adults and people with disabilities continue to have problems affording coverage and their prescription drugs, Baker discussed the need to improve the affordability of prescription drugs for people with Medicare. He called on Congress to maintain existing policies that achieve this goal, in particular the provisions of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 that will close the Medicare Part D donut hole one year early and provide beneficiaries in the coverage gap with a higher discount on their prescription drugs. This would allow beneficiaries to move through the donut hole more quickly, lowering their out-of-pocket costs, and make it easier for them to afford needed medication.

Baker also examined several recent drug pricing proposals and the trade-offs associated with each. He discussed how moving coverage of certain drugs from Medicare Part B to Part D, loosening Part D formulary standards, and requiring Part D plans to pass through rebates at the point of sale could benefit some people with Medicare but disadvantage others, echoing the comments Medicare Rights submitted in response to the Trump administration’s “Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs.”

To stay abreast of Medicare Rights’ policy efforts to bring down the cost of prescription drugs, subscribe to Medicare Watch, a free weekly newsletter, at www.medicarerights.org.

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