President Biden’s top priority is cutting costs for the American people. He was proud to sign the Inflation Reduction Act, taking over Big Pharma to give Medicare for the first time the ability to negotiate prescription drug costs, capping drug costs for seniors at the pharmacy and the cost of insulin and health insurance premiums for Reduce people covered by the Affordable Care Act. President Biden and congressional Democrats are committed to protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare.
Republicans in Congress have a very different vision. They have promised to remove Medicare’s right to negotiate drug prices and remove the $2,000 cap on pharmacy spending. Florida Republican Senator and Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee Rick Scott has pushed for a plan to chop Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security every five years. In addition, Congressional Republicans have repeatedly promised to hold the American economy hostage by refusing to raise the debt ceiling unless they can cut the Social Security and Medicare benefits millions of Americans receive beautiful deposited.
Here’s what the Congressional Republican plan would mean:
Part I: Putting fundamental programs like Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block and threatening the global economy if these programs are not cut
All Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security beneficiaries would see their benefits threatened under Senator Rick Scott’s plan to put those programs on hold every five years. Sen. Ron Johnson’s vision of putting her up for vote every year would make that worse.
Congressional Republican leaders have also repeatedly stated that they will use the debt limit as leverage to cut these fundamental programs. Republicans in Congress have backed cuts to Medicare and Social Security, including:
- Gradually raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67 and the Social Security eligibility age to 70. (Republican Study Committee FY 2023 Budget)
- Converting Medicare benefits into a voucher, giving seniors a fixed amount of money to purchase a private healthcare plan (Better Way Plan) or offering beneficiaries the option to transition to a premium support scheme (Republican Study Committee FY 2023 Budget) — which could lead to Hundreds or thousands of dollars in additional out-of-pocket expenses for seniors across the country.
Part II: Repealing the Provisions on Prescription Drugs and Health Care in the Anti-Inflation Act
President Biden has worked for decades to get Medicare to negotiate drug prices, and thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, it’s finally happening. This will save billions of dollars both for Medicare beneficiaries, who will see reduced premiums and expenses, and for the federal government. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that approximately 5 to 7 million beneficiaries each year use the types of expensive drugs that could be the subject of negotiations and face directly higher cost-sharing if these regulations are lifted.
The Inflation Mitigation Act also requires prescription drug companies to pay rebates if they increase drug prices faster than inflation. According to an analysis by the Department of Health, the cost of 1,200 prescription drugs has risen faster than inflation in the last year alone — some prescription drugs have increased by $1,000 in just one year. If Republicans in Congress repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, drug companies can keep raising prices without paying a rebate, instead of putting that money back into Americans’ pockets.
Before the Inflation Reduction Act, Medicare beneficiaries with diseases like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and lung disease could face thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket prescription drug costs each year. Thanks to President Biden and Congressional Democrats’ Anti-Inflation Act, that cost will be capped at $2,000 per year, saving over 1 million beneficiaries an average of over $1,300 per year. If Republicans prevail in Congress and repeal the law, over 1.4 million Medicare beneficiaries will pay more — in some cases thousands of dollars more — for drugs at the pharmacy each year.
Drug makers have raised insulin prices so rapidly over the past few decades that some Medicare beneficiaries are struggling to afford this life-saving drug, which costs less than $10 a vial to produce. Today, Medicare beneficiaries sign up for plans that must limit the cost of insulin to no more than $35 per month per prescription, a protection they will lose if the law is repealed.
The Inflation Reduction Act saves 13 million Americans on average about $800 a year on their health insurance premiums by continuing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) premium tax credit improvements enacted in the American Rescue Plan. By making health care more affordable, these improvements have extended coverage to millions of people and helped bring the uninsured rate to an all-time low. Starting today, during open enrollment season, Americans can elect health insurance plans that secure the 2023 Inflation Reduction Act cost savings. But congressional Republicans would reverse that support, raising premiums and jeopardizing the strides the Biden administration has made in boosting the uninsured rate to historic lows. Older Americans would see particularly large premium spikes; In most states, annual premiums for a 60-year-old earning $60,000 would more than double to over $10,000.