Yesterday, President Biden gave an update on implementing the Inflation Reduction Act and lowering drug costs for seniors across the nation, including savings from inflation rebates, the $35 monthly cap on insulin, and free vaccines. He highlighted how nearly 15 million patients are saving an average of $800 per year on their health insurance premiums thanks to these measures.
The update came as the Biden administration announced that dozens of drug companies will be required to pay a rebate to Medicare because they raised prices faster than the rate of inflation. In total, 48 drugs under Medicare Part B hiked prices faster than inflation in the last quarter of 2023, and now the rebate payments are expected to save seniors who take these drugs up to $2,786 per dose. The administration also released new research on the Medicare drug negotiation program.
During his speech, President Biden noted that at the same time Democrats are lowering costs, Republicans in Congress are fighting to roll back this progress and repeal the Inflation Reduction Act’s historic measures to lower drug prices for seniors. Repealing these policies would cost seniors billions of dollars — only putting money back in the pockets of big drug companies.
AP: Older Americans to Pay Less for Some Drug Treatments as Drugmakers Penalized for Big Price Jumps. “Older Americans to pay less for some drug treatments as drugmakers penalized for big price jumps… The White House unveiled a list of 48 drugs… whose prices increased faster than the rate of inflation this year. Under a new law, drugmakers will have to pay rebates to the federal government because of those price increases. The money will be used to lower the price Medicare enrollees pay on the drugs early next year.” [AP, 12/14/23]
Bloomberg: Biden Touts Drug Rebates as Bid to Crack Down on ‘Price Gouging.’ “‘Simply it’s a rip off,’ Biden said Thursday at the National Institutes of Health, targeting pharmaceutical makers who raise the price of drugs at a faster rate than inflation. ‘They’re ripping off Medicare. They’re ripping off the American people…’ Some 64 drugs were subject to the penalties last year, and the administration is eying a list of 48 new drugs that raised their prices faster than inflation in the past quarter. The White House estimates the rebates lower costs for around 750,000 seniors a year.” [Bloomberg, 12/14/23]
Fierce Healthcare: Biden Administration Flags Dozens of Pharma Companies to Pay Medicare Rebates for ‘Outrageous’ Price Hikes. “Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released a list of 48 prescription drugs that will have lower Part B beneficiary coinsurances in the first quarter of 2024, along with other updated guidance on Thursday. ‘Starting in January, some Medicare beneficiaries who take these 48 prescription drugs – including drugs used to treat cancer and fight infections – will have lower coinsurance than what they would have paid otherwise, and their out-of-pocket costs may decrease by $1 to as much as $2,786 per average dose,’ White House officials said.” [Fierce Healthcare, 12/14/23]
The Hill: Biden to Tout Efforts to Lower Prescription Drug Costs in NIH Visit. “The Inflation Reduction Act, a sweeping climate and health care law Biden signed in 2022, gives the government the authority to crack down on price gouging around prescription drugs and require companies to pay rebates back to Medicare. The White House said in the last quarter of 2023 that 48 Medicare Part B drugs raised prices faster than inflation. The rebate payments are expected to save seniors who take those drugs between $1 and $2,786 per dose, the White House said.” [The Hill, 12/14/23]
The Messenger: Biden on GOP Efforts to End Health Plans: ‘Americans Don’t Like Being Played for Suckers, Republicans Are OK With That’. “President Joe Biden tore into GOP efforts to end healthcare plans in a speech Thursday about the Inflation Reduction Act, and how it can reduce the costs of prescription medication. … ‘Not a single solitary Republican voted for any of the legislation, which is responsible for so much of this drug savings.’… ‘In short, Republicans want to raise costs for seniors and working families and allow exorbitant profits for Big Pharma,’ the president said.” [The Messenger, 12/14/23]
Reuters: Biden Administration to Impose Inflation Penalties on Dozens of Drugs. “Medicare recipients could benefit by a reduction in their co-insurance payment for any of the drugs by $1 to $2,786 per average dose, according to a government statement. The president, in remarks at the National Institutes of Health, said big pharmaceutical companies, in the year before the law was passed, “jacked up” prices nearly four times faster than inflation went up. ‘They’re ripping off Medicare. They’re ripping off the American people,’ Biden said. ‘We’re going to save taxpayers money and discourage companies from raising prices in the first place.’” [Reuters, 12/14/23]
USA Today: Biden Touts Prescription Drug Savings for Older Americans. “President Joe Biden touted his efforts to promote drug savings during an appearance Thursday at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. The inflation penalties are part of Biden’s signature 2022 climate and health law, called the Inflation Reduction Act, which pressures drug companies to limit drug prices in several ways. “It’s about giving folks just a little more breathing room,” said Biden, flanked by doctors and scientists. “For too long, Americans have paid more for prescription drugs than any advanced nation on Earth.”” [USA Today, 12/14/23]
Fox Business: Biden Administration Says Medicare Owed Rebates for Drug Prices That Outpaced Inflation. “Starting in the first quarter of the new year, some seniors who take any of the affected 48 prescription drugs could save as much as $2,786 per average dose, according to the administration. With the IRA, the administration has been working to crack down on “exorbitant price gouging” in the medical industry and lower prescription drug costs for seniors and families.” [Fox Business, 12/14/23]