To help pay for the massive spending bill, congressional Democrats are planning an enormous change to Medicare. The changes will curtail access to today’s advanced medicines and stifle the development of tomorrow’s new treatments and cures.
The bill seeks to remove the Medicare drug benefit’s “non-interference” clause, which bars federal health officials from meddling in the prescription drug market. Democrats are marketing this plan as “negotiations” — because few would take issue with a good-faith back-and-forth. However, the bill explicitly plans to impose price controls.
As it currently stands, the spending package would cap the prices on branded medicines and impose a financial penalty if a drug rises in price at a pace faster than inflation.
This would completely upend Medicare.
By design, Medicare’s drug benefit was set up to be administered by private insurers. This model forces insurers to compete for seniors’ business by offering a wide variety of drug plans. Additionally, it forces drug companies to negotiate with those insurers, as they all want their medicines included on insurers’ formularies.