Home News Trump Checkmates Pelosi, Makes Deal To Lower Drug Costs For Seniors On Medicare While Nancy Debates

Trump Checkmates Pelosi, Makes Deal To Lower Drug Costs For Seniors On Medicare While Nancy Debates

by J.C McCallum

President Trump is doing what he can with Nancy Pelosi and the Dems in control of the House of Representatives.

Pelosi can and will block or delay certain programs Trump is trying to push through and one does wonder what in the hell Paul Ryan was doing when the GOP controlled the entire government.

Pelosi is holding up a bill that would help seniors so Trump is simply going around her and making a deal directly with the Pharma industry to lower prices.

White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway said Trump can’t wait for the Democratic-controlled House on drug prices anymore. “Waiting for them to act is very perilous,” she said.

The Trump admin will drastically reduce the cost of insulin for American seniors who rely on Medicare by 66%.

From ABC:

The deal comes as President Donald Trump returns to the issue of drug prices, trying to woo older people whose votes are critical to his reelection prospects.

The cost of insulin is one the biggest worries for consumers generally concerned about high prices for brand name drugs. Millions of people with diabetes use insulin to keep their blood sugars within normal ranges and stave off complications that can include heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and amputations. People with diabetes also suffer worse outcomes from COVID-19.

Trump last week told Republican senators at a Capitol Hill meeting he still wants to pass a bill this year to lower drug costs, saying “I think you have to do it,” according a summary from an attendee. Bipartisan legislation to limit price increases and reduce costs for older people with high drug bills is pending in the Senate…

…Although the White House and Pelosi’s office were in conversations last year about prescription drug legislation, the relationship between the two leaders has been tense and angry for months.

White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway told AP the administration can’t wait for the Democratic-controlled House on drug prices. “Waiting for them to act is very perilous,” said Conway.

Verma, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said 1,750 insurance plans that offer drug coverage to Medicare recipients have agreed to provide insulin for a maximum copay of $35 a month next year. It will be available through “enhanced” plans that can offer supplemental benefits. The cap on copays is expected to lead to a small increase in premiums.

Importantly for patients, the new benefit would cover a range of insulin products, including pen and vial forms for rapid-acting, short-acting, intermediate-acting, and long-acting versions.

One out of three people with Medicare have diabetes, and more than 3 million use insulin. At list prices, the drug can cost more than $5,000 a year. Although insured patients don’t pay that, they do notice rising copays that are based on the full cost. People who can’t afford their insulin may try to cope by reducing their doses, a dangerous calculation that can put their lives in jeopardy.

Medicare’s prescription drug benefit is offered by private insurers, either as a stand-alone “Part D” drug plan added to traditional Medicare, or as part of a managed care plan under Medicare Advantage. The taxpayer-subsidized private plans are closely regulated by the government, but by law Medicare is barred from negotiating drug prices — something Democrats including presidential candidate Joe Biden want to change.

Insurers and drugmakers welcomed the announcement. The industry group America’s Health Insurance Plans called it an “excellent example of public-private partnerships where everyone wins.” The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said it’s pleased to see the administration focused on lowering out-of-pocket costs for patients.

From The New York Post:

The deal struck with the nation’s insulin manufacturers and health care providers will limit the co-pay for a month’s supply of insulin to $35 — a 66 percent reduction to current costs, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said.

The initiative will apply to the 1 in 3 Medicare enrollees who have diabetes, which is approximately 3 million people.

The announcement comes on the heels of hearings into the rising cost of insulin in the United States, with one diabetic groom-to-be dying in 2019 after switching to a cheaper version to help pay for his wedding.

“Having more predictable out of pocket costs will help seniors adhere to their doctor’s orders,” Conway told reporters on a briefing call.

The initiative will be unveiled during an event in the White House Rose Garden with Trump and the nation’s health care executives.

The plan, effective from January 2021, will save seniors approximately 56 percent or an average of $446 each year in insulin co-pays, said Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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