President Biden’s top priority is to reduce costs to the American people. He was proud to sign the Reducing Inflation Act, hiring Big Pharma to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug costs for the first time, limiting seniors’ drug costs in pharmacies and the cost of insulin and lowering health insurance premiums for people who get coverage through the Affordable Care Act. President Biden and Democrats in Congress are committed to protecting and strengthening social security and health care.
Republicans in Congress have a very different view. They promised to deprive Medicare of the right to negotiate drug prices and remove the $ 2,000 limit on pharmacy out-of-pocket expenses. Florida Republican Senator and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Rick Scott has supported a plan to put Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security on the cutting board every five years. Additionally, Republicans in Congress have repeatedly pledged to hold the US economy hostage by refusing to raise the debt limit unless they can cut the Social Security and Medicare benefits that tens of millions of Americans have. already poured out.
Here’s what the congressional Republican plan would mean:
Part I: Putting core programs like Social Security and Medicare on the cutting board and threatening the global economy unless those programs are cut
All Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security beneficiaries would see their benefits threatened by Senator Rick Scott’s plan to put those programs on the cutting board every five years. Senator Ron Johnson’s vision of putting them to a vote every year would make the situation even worse.
Republican leaders in Congress have also repeatedly stated that they will use the debt limit as leverage to cut these key programs. Republicans in Congress have supported cuts to Medicare and Social Security, including:
- Gradually increase the Medicare eligibility age to 67 and the Social Security eligibility age to 70. (Republican Study Committee Budget FY 2023)
- Turn Medicare benefits into a voucher where seniors would receive a fixed amount of money to purchase a private health plan (Better Way Plan) or offer beneficiaries the option to upgrade to a premium support system (Republican Study Committee FY 2023 Budget), which could lead to hundreds or thousands of dollars in additional living expenses for seniors across the country.
Part II: Repeal of the Prescription Drugs and Healthcare Provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act
President Biden has worked for decades to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, and this is finally happening thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act. This will save billions of dollars for both Medicare beneficiaries, who will see their premiums reduced and out of pocket expenses, both for the federal government. Estimates from the Kaiser Family Foundation suggest that around 5-7 million beneficiaries each year use the high-cost types of drugs that could be negotiated and will face greater cost-sharing directly if these provisions are repealed.
The Inflation Reduction Act also requires prescription drug companies to pay discounts if they raise drug prices faster than inflation. According to an analysis by the Department of Health and Human Services, the cost of 1,200 prescription drugs has risen faster than inflation in the past year alone – some prescription drugs have gone up by $ 1,000 in just one year. If Republicans in Congress repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, drug companies can continue to raise prices without paying a discount, rather than putting that money back in American pockets.
Before the Inflation Reduction Act, Medicare beneficiaries with conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and lung disease could face thousands of dollars in prescription drug out-of-pocket expenses per year. Thanks to President Biden and the Congressional Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act, those costs will be capped at $ 2,000 annually, saving over 1 million beneficiaries averaging over $ 1,300 annually. If Republicans in Congress go their way and repeal the law, more than 1.4 million Medicare beneficiaries will pay more annually – thousands of dollars more in some cases – for pharmacy drugs.
Drug manufacturers have raised insulin prices so rapidly over the past few decades that some Medicare beneficiaries are having a hard time affording this life-saving drug that costs less than $ 10 a vial to manufacture. Today, Medicare beneficiaries are signing up for plans that must limit the living cost of insulin to no more than $ 35 per month per prescription, a protection they will lose if the law is repealed.
The Inflation Reduction Act allows 13 million Americans to save an average of about $ 800 annually on health premiums, continuing the improvements to Affordable Care Act (ACA) premium tax credits enacted in the American Rescue Plan. By making healthcare more accessible, these improvements have expanded coverage to millions of people, helping to bring the uninsured rate to an all-time low. Starting today, during open enrollment season, Americans can choose health insurance plans that block Inflation Reduction Act cost savings for 2023. But Republicans in Congress would repeal this assistance, raise premiums, and jeopardize the progress made by the Biden administration in driving the uninsured rate to an all-time low. Older Americans would see particularly large premium peaks; in most states, annual awards for a 60-year-old earning $ 60,000 would more than double to over $ 10,000.