House Vote On Prescription Drug Bill Coming In December
A House vote that that would lower the costs of prescription drugs for Medicare Part D enrollees is now promised for this December. The measure requires the Federal government to negotiate prices and cap out-of-pocket expenses.
The House is waiting for the Congressional Budget office to complete it’s full analysis of the bill.
The first evaluation of the measure said it would save Medicare $345 billion over 10 years, and also cut costs by 25 percent. A separate report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) said that non-Medicare patients would save $158 billion over that time.
House Vote: Strong Support Among Consumers
Many health care providers support this legislation. Passage of the bill will allow the Federal government to extend Medicare coverage for dental, vision, and hearing care.
Medicare will also have the power to negotiate and use its bargaining power to get a better deal for beneficiaries. Consequently, the price consumers now pay for the highest-priced drugs and for drugs with no market share,will come down.
Right now, patients in the United States pay four times as much as consumers in similar countries for the same prescriptions.
The bill also caps out-of-pocket prescription drug expenses for Medicare Part D enrollees at $2,000 per year.
In addition, each year the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will negotiate the price of the most expensive 35 medicines that do not have at least two generic competitors. In addition, HHS will negotiate the price of insulin, — its’ cost has doubled from 2012 to 2016.
House members also approved separate measures that would use savings from this bill to pay for the addition of dental, vision and hearing benefits to Medicare Part B. Part B now only covers doctor visits and other outpatient services.Under this proposal all enrollees would be eligible for such benefits.
Committee staff members said that the trust fund pays for Medicare Part A (hospital) benefits. And spending in Part B and Part D does not affect the solvency of the hospital trust fund.