“It’s long past time for Congress to acknowledge the hard truth that the sky-rocketing cost of prescription drugs is hurting average Americans and our federal budget. Medicare spends billions providing Part D drug coverage each year while beneficiaries including seniors, the disabled and their families also face rising out-of-pocket costs and higher premiums. All the while, drug makers continue to reap the profits of their price gouging. In his budget, President Obama has again proposed lifting the ban preventing Medicare from negotiating prices with the drug companies. Big Pharma has lobbied hard to keep the ban in place but seniors expect, this time, Congress will do the right thing and finally allow Medicare to negotiate for fair prices.”…Max Richtman, NCPSSM President/CEO
Among the other budget provisions beneficial to seniors include:
- closing the Part D donut hole two years earlier
- additional funding for in-home services
- reforms for overpayments going to private insurers in Medicare Advantage
- a 7.44% increase in administrative funding for the Social Security Administration
However, the President’s budget was not all good news. Once again, the budget proposes shifting even more healthcare costs to seniors by extending Medicare means-testing to the middle class and increasing out-of-pocket costs such as the home health care copayment and the Part B deductible.
“The average Medicare beneficiary already spends nearly $4,800 per year in out-of-pocket health care costs with half of all people on Medicare having incomes of less than $24,150. People in Medicare simply can’t afford increased cost-sharing year-after-year. What’s especially worrisome are efforts to portray expanding means-testing in Medicare as impacting only ‘high-income seniors.’ While that may be good political rhetoric the truth is, if passed, further means testing will actually target middle-class individuals”…Max Richtman, NCPSSM President/CEO