We all know that drug prices have gotten out of control, but for years, our government has argued on the best way to lower drug costs. Early in March, Congress thinks that they may have found a way to reduce drug costs. Both sides of the aisle may have found some common ground that could play a huge impact on how much you’re paying for your prescriptions.
At the beginning of March, several congressional Democrats presented a bill and met with the President to discuss some ways that they could lower drug prices. The House bill will expand the government’s ability to negotiate on drug prices, which is an idea that’s been floating around for years and years. Many experts state the lack of ability to negotiate as the main reason that medication prices have skyrocketed. All pharmaceutical companies know that the government has almost zero ability to counter-offer any of the prices, which allows them to name any price, and Medicare patients are left with massive drug costs at the counter.
When leaving the meeting with the President Elijah Cummings, the Democratic congressman from Maryland said he was optimistic about the meeting, “He made it clear to us that he wanted to do something,” and he also included that Trump was enthusiastic about the possible solution. The meeting also included Tom Price, who is the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Both the President and Price will be key components in getting support for passing the new bill. The new bill could have a massive impact on drug prices and could translate into thousands of extra dollars in your pocket.
Around the same time that the Democratic congressmen were meeting with the President, he tweeted, “I am working on a new system where there will be competition in the Drug Industry. Pricing for the American people will come way down!” and while some of the President’s tweets have gotten him in hot water before, this one should encourage any Medicare enrollee. From those that have worked on his with this bill, there seems to be a lot of optimism surrounding the possibly of having a solution.
The purposed bill is length, and there are several different factors that are included in the bill. If you want to read a full summary of the bill, there is one posted on the House Committee website. The most notable factor from the bill is the fact that it would allow the HHS secretary to negotiate drug prices with any manufacturers under Medicare Part D.
There are around 41 million Americans enrolled in Part D, which provide drug coverage through private insurers. Each of the insurers has a different list of drugs that are allowed on the plan, and each company uses a pharmacy benefits manager for drug purchasing and pricing, but with the new bill, it would allow the HHS Secretary to establish a formulary. The new formulary would enable the government to negotiate some of the drug prices because they now have some leverage that they can bring to the table, instead of having to accept any offers that came their way.
What To Do Until Then
The introduction of this bill gives a ray of hope to anyone that’s enrolled in Medicare or will soon be enrolled in the program. Unfortunately, who know how long it will be until the bill is passed and it starts to take effect. So, until then, what are Medicare enrollees supposed to do about the rising cost of their medications and drugs?
To begin with, Part D is an excellent way to offset the costs of medications, which can easily equal thousands and thousands of dollars. Part D will give you insurance coverage that should cover the majority of your drugs and keep you from having to drain your bank account every month at the pharmacy. Part D isn’t the only way that you can save money.
Another way that you can lower your medication expenses is to switch to generic versions of the same drugs. A generic version will provide the same treatment but at a fraction of the cost every month. If you want to save money, ask your pharmacist or primary doctor about any generic options that you can switch to. That simple question could save you thousands of dollars every year. New generic versions are hitting the market every year, which means that even if you can’t switch any of your medications now, continue to ask every six months.
Another simple way to save money is to ask your doctor about any drug samples that they have. Typically, drug manufacturers will give samples for patients to try. You can use these samples to save hundreds of dollars, and all that you have to do is ask.
Government And Lower Drug Prices
The argument of lowering medication prices has been debated for years and years, but so far, there has been no success. Hopefully, this new bill will change all of that. This bill is still in the early phases, which means that a lot could change between now and the time that the bill has been approved. We know that navigating medication prices can be difficult, but it’s important that you have the drugs that you need to live a long and healthy life, without breaking your bank.
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