A bill called the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2017 was introduced to the Senate by the Finance Committee on 1/5/17.
The bill is to amend part D of title XVIII of the Social Security Act. The bill would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate covered part D drug prices on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries.
On 01/25/2017 it was referred to the Subcommittee on Health.
This information was found on Congress.gov if you would like to follow the progress of this bill.
Will this help or hurt Medicare beneficiaries?
MY OPINION: I am concerned that if this bill is approved it could have the unintended consequence of forcing insurers to “standardize” their formularies which would reduce the cost on a selected “group” of medications as well as result in an increase in cost on those medications that didn’t make the cut.
I have witnessed Medicare beneficiaries each year face changes to their healthcare plans. The changes seem to be trending in higher cost sharing for medical visits, hospitalizations, prescriptions on top of higher plan premiums.
Or said another way, Medicare beneficiaries are paying a higher premium for less benefits in healthcare plans. I can’t get excited that this bill will provide an improvement for Medicare beneficiaries.
– Andrea Z.