Democrats Disagree About How to Spend Potential Prescription Drug Windfall | Kaiser Health News

Are savings really savings if you spend them on something else that ever increases in price and spending? Yup, if you of the liberal/progressive mindset‼️

NEGOTIATION implies a give and take, a win, win for each party. If that is what Democrats are actually talking about, it’s hardly the basis to fund new permanent healthcare related spending and their growing liabilities. Of course they are really talking about price fixing, but that doesn’t sound as nice a negotiations.

Medicare’s drug spending goes beyond Part D, but note above that Part D prices are already “negotiated.”

One of the outcomes of negotiations is formularies, something those on Medicare already complain about.

Keep in mind that all the new spending from assumed drug savings is being proposed while at the same time the Medicare trust is closing in on depletion because it’s under funded. Only in a political mind does that make sense.

Most Democrats agree the time is ripe to tackle high drug prices. In 2019 the Democratic-led House passed a broad drug price bill that was reintroduced just days ago with the backing of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Senate Democrats have also been working on drug price legislation. There is some difference between liberals and moderates on how far to push the drug industry for savings, but the consensus is that drugs cost too much and the government needs to step in. The real problem is what to do with the considerable budget savings that would be produced by policies like allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

That’s something that pits the more liberal Democratic backers of a “Medicare for All” insurance system against moderates who would instead put the savings into expanding the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Biden is, for the moment at least, taking both sides. Savings from drug price reforms “can go to strengthen the Affordable Care Act and expand Medicare coverage and benefits — without costing taxpayers one additional penny,” he said in his speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night. But the factions are taking shape in Congress.

On hearing reports that Biden’s families plan would leave major health items on the cutting-room floor, Medicare for All sponsor Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and 16 Senate Democratic colleagues urged Biden not just to include Medicare drug price negotiation authority in his package, but also to use the proceeds to lower the Medicare eligibility age (a Biden campaign promise) and add hearing, vision and dental benefits to Medicare.

House Democrats in their 2019 bill opted to use the savings to provide those added health benefits to current Medicare beneficiaries. “We have an historic opportunity to make the most significant expansion of Medicare since it was signed into law,” wrote the senators. A similar letter went to the president signed by 80 House members, led by Medicare for All backer Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.).

Source: Democrats Disagree About How to Spend Potential Prescription Drug Windfall | Kaiser Health News

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