FACT CHECK: Dems’ Drug Pricing Scheme Means Higher Prices and Fewer Cures
Democrats’ policies led to the highest Medicare premium increase in history last year, and now that seniors are getting a partial refund nearly a year later, the Biden Administration is rushing to claim a victory ahead of November. This is blatant political gamesmanship.
- The Biden Administration overcharged seniors for Medicare in 2022. In November 2021, the Biden Administration announced higher costs for seniors with the largest increase in Medicare Part B history, citing the speculative cost of one Alzheimer’s drug as the cause.
- HHS refused to cut premiums while seniors couldn’t even access the Alzheimer’s drug for which they were being overcharged. In April 2022, the Biden Administration announced it would severely restrict access to the very same Alzheimer’s drug it had overcharged seniors to cover. The decision was met with severe criticism. Ways and Means Republicans, led by Republican Leader Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), pressed HHS Secretary Becerra in April for answers on why they’re overcharging seniors for a drug they didn’t have access to – and HHS wouldn’t reduce premiums to compensate.
- President Biden then rushed an announcement to take credit for providing a partial refund for political reasons. CMS typically announces Medicare premium rates later in the year, but President Biden, eager for a political win, made the announcement in September, claiming it as a victory but ignoring how Democrats’ policies led to the price spike in the first place.
- Past announcements:
- September 27, 2022
- November 12, 2021
- November 6, 2020
- November 8, 2019
- October 12, 2018
- November 17, 2017
- November 16, 2016
- November 10, 2015
- Past announcements:
November 12th 2021– CMS announces the largest premium and deductible increase in Medicare history. They specifically called out one specific high-cost Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm, as a primary driver in the increase, coincidentally right as House Democrats were trying to get their cure-killing price controls passed into law.
April 7th, 2022– CMS finalizes a national coverage determination for Aduhelm and other drugs like it that severely restricts Medicare beneficiaries access to the drug.
April 28th, 2022– Brady grills Sec. Becerra on what CMS is going to do now that it’s clear seniors are being overcharged for a drug they don’t have access to. (27:14 mark)
September 27th, 2022– CMS announces a $5.20 decrease in Medicare Part B premiums (the first decrease since 2012). In their announcement, CMS acknowledges that the 2022 premium included a contingency margin that exceeded projected spending, both because of lower than projected spending on Aduhelm (due to beneficiaries having access restricted) and other Part B costs. Some but not all of this excess margin from 2022 is now being used to lower premiums for 2023. Despite being happy to single out one drug as being the driving factor for premium increases in last year’s announcement, the Administration is yet to answer questions about the details of this premium change, including what percentage of last year’s excess is being applied to this year’s premium and how much continues to be held in reserve.