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CBO Says Seniors Will Pay 20% More for Prescription Drug Insurance if the House Democrat Health Care Bill is Enacted

August 28, 2009

Responding today to inquiries from Ways and Means Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the House Democrat health care bill (H.R. 3200) would force seniors to pay an additional 20 percent more for their Medicare prescription drug insurance (Part D).

In their letter to Camp, CBO noted that “The net effect on drug spending would differ among beneficiaries depending on the amount of their purchases in a year.”  While CBO neglected to expand on this statement, the latest Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) data show that just 3.8 million seniors were fully subject to the donut hole in 2007.  These seniors, 10.9 percent of those enrolled in a Medicare drug plan, would save money under the Democrats’ health care bill.  However, CMS data shows more than 12 million seniors (76 percent of those who do not receive low-income subsidies) would end up paying more.
In addition to the increase in prescription drug premiums, seniors can also expect to pay higher Medicare Part B premiums if H.R. 3200 becomes law.  An earlier 
CBO analysis of the Democrat health care bill found that Part B premiums would increase by $24.9 billion.
“Instead of saving seniors money, this bill will force the vast majority of seniors to pay more to see their doctors and more to get their prescription drugs,” said Camp.  “Health care reform should make health care more affordable, not more expensive.  Clearly, it is time to scrap this bill and start over with open, bipartisan talks.”