By Karen Stokes
On Tuesday, during an event in the Rose Garden, President Joe Biden highlighted his and Congressional Democrats’ efforts to protect and strengthen Medicare and lower health care costs for seniors.
Medicare beneficiaries will see their Part B premiums decrease in 2023, the first time in more than a decade that the tab will be lower than the year before, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Tuesday.
The annual deductible for Medicare Part B beneficiaries will be $226 next year, a decrease of $7 from 2022.
Medicare Part B covers physician services, outpatient hospital services, certain home health services, durable medical equipment and certain other medical and health services not covered by Medicare Part A.
“We pay more for prescription drugs than any other advanced nation in the world. And there’s no good reason for it. For years, many of us have been trying to fix this problem.
But, for years Big Pharma has stood in the way,” Biden said.
“Not this year. This year, the American people won, and Big Pharma lost,” he said.
A key reason for the 2022 hike was a projected jump in spending due to a costly new drug for Alzheimer’s disease, Aduhelm. Since then, Aduhelm’s manufacturer has cut the price and CMS limited coverage of the drug. The agency said it would factor the lower-than-forecast spending into the 2023 premium.
“There are a couple of changes that are coming as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act and one of the changes is that drug companies that increase their prices above inflation will pay a penalty and that’s something we’re going to start measuring now,” said Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “It will really help to make sure people are not paying a disproportionate amount for rising drug costs.”
“Now, if Big Pharma tries to raise drug prices faster than inflation, they’ll be penalized and they have to rebate the money to Medicare,” Biden said. Biden continued, “A big cost and a big concern for most folks is prescription drugs and other healthcare. Reducing that cost and concern is one of my top priorities.”
“The biggest thing I want to share is how important it is for people to go online to look at the options,” Brooks-LaSure said. “Starting on Saturday, you can go to Medicare.gov or call 1-800-Medicare and start looking at your options for coverage in November and people can look to healthcare.gov to a state based marketplace and see if they qualify for health insurance if they’re not on Medicare.”