Whitehouse Highlights Coming Changes That Will Lower Drug Costs for Seniors
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) joined 21 senators in a request to the Biden administration, putting a spotlight on the pending Inflation Reduction Act provisions that will lower prescription drug prices for seniors who take Medicare Part B drugs.
“Our Inflation Reduction Act will soon be lowering prescription drug and health care costs for Rhode Islanders,” said Senator Whitehouse. “We’re calling on the Biden Administration to implement the IRA’s drug pricing provisions with an added level of transparency for beneficiaries.”
The letter, sent to Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, comes as the Biden administration continues to implement the Inflation Reduction Act’s drug pricing provisions.
“We strongly urge CMS to provide the following information quickly to help seniors in traditional Medicare and their families plan for lower cost-sharing on their Part B medications: (1) a list of the common names of Medicare Part B medications that will be subject to a coinsurance reduction on April 1, 2023; and (2) the percentage and amount of the coinsurance reduction for each Part B drug,” the senators wrote. “High Part B drug prices set by manufacturers place a heavy burden on Medicare beneficiaries, since patients pay 20 percent of the cost of these drugs… The IRA penalizes inflated drug prices and lowers Part B cost sharing to combat this financial burden.”
The IRA protects Medicare beneficiaries who take Part B drugs (such as physician administered infusions and injections used to treat cancer and rheumatoid arthritis) if manufacturers continue price increases at rates that outpace inflation by reducing coinsurance for Medicare beneficiaries taking these same medications. If the price Medicare faces for a Part B drug exceeds the amount that the drug would have cost if the manufacturer’s price only increased by the rate of inflation, then beginning April 1, 2023, a beneficiary’s coinsurance will be calculated based on 20 percent of the lower inflation-adjusted price. With implementation of the IRA’s Part B coinsurance reduction, beneficiaries who depend on costly clinic-administered medications will experience lower cost sharing if drug price increases outpace inflation. If the penalty is not applied, that means drug manufacturers did not increase their prices faster than inflation.
Joining Whitehouse on the letter were Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jon Tester (D-MT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bob Casey (D-PA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mark Warner (D-VA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Peter Welch (D-VT), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Chris Murphy (D-CT).
The full letter can be found here.
Meaghan McCabe (Whitehouse),(202) 224-2921
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