The big congressional prescription price scam – InsideSources


Congress is considering two massive bills. Unfortunately, both bills would put the health of Americans at risk.

The first bill, a $ 1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package that the Senate already passed in mid-August, is expected to be voted on in the House – in one form or another – by now the end of the year. It primarily funds roads, bridges and ports – but also contains a provision delaying the Trump administration’s “reimbursement rule” that was designed to save patients at the pharmacy counter billions of dollars.

The second, a $ 3.5 trillion giant, eliminates this rule entirely – and would also allow the government to “negotiate” drug prices, a step that will inevitably result in restrictions on access for patients and less investment for. new medical innovations.

Democrats in Congress are selling the two bills as landmark “reforms” that would save patients money. But they are fooling their constituents and the country. These initiatives will impose higher fees on patients and reduce their ability to use advanced drugs – all to free up space in the government budget for unrelated things – like waste subsidies for electric vehicles.

Let’s start with the rule of the Trump era. This would force drug benefit managers – the companies that help insurance companies design and administer drug plans – to use the discounts and rebates they get from drug companies to reduce drug costs. for patients. These discounts are substantial, totaling $ 187 billion in 2020.

The rule would massively reduce co-payments and coinsurance for the sickest patients. This is important because study after study has found that reducing patients’ out-of-pocket expenses increases their adherence to prescription regimens and translates into better health outcomes. Over 44% of adults have skipped a medically necessary prescription at least once because of the cost. Ten percent have done so more than three times.

In addition to improving patient health outcomes, the rule would also save the entire U.S. healthcare system a lot of money. Studies have estimated that non-membership costs nearly $ 300 billion a year. This number could be double if the loss of worker productivity is taken into account. When people don’t take their medications, chronic treatable illnesses can turn into costly medical emergencies.

By delaying and then completely repealing the Trump-era surrender rule, Democrats in Congress are essentially sacrificing the health of these patients to save $ 180 billion that will be used to pay for a host of Liberal priorities.

They also want the government to negotiate drug prices directly with manufacturers – a move they hope will save hundreds of billions of dollars. But as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has long explained, the only way Medicare can achieve these savings is to simply stop covering many peak drugs.

And let’s be clear: these would only be negotiations in name. In effect, these are price caps set by the federal government for hundreds of common treatments. If companies don’t comply, they are slapped with an excise tax of up to 1900 percent. Has anyone ever heard of a “negotiation” that works like this?

Draconian pricing measures would also lead to massive setbacks in medical innovation. In 2019, the pharmaceutical industry invested $ 83 billion in R&D for new drugs. If Democrats get what they want, that spending could be cut in half or more.

Giving up on these scientific breakthroughs would easily eclipse any savings resulting from price fixing. Alzheimer’s disease, for example, costs the United States about $ 277 billion each year. Diabetes costs more, totaling $ 327 billion. If we are serious about reducing health care costs, quitting smoking when we are so close to curing these diseases and many more is nonsense.

Eliminating the discount rule and introducing price caps for drugs are bad ideas in and of themselves. But it is particularly infuriating that our lawmakers claim that these drug price “reforms” will save patients money. In fact, the drug pricing provisions of both bills are expressly designed to reduce government spending and free up money for unrelated items on the progressive wish list.


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