Don’t give money to Medicare for Obamacare

Don’t give money to Medicare for Obamacare

By Phil Kerpen • July 15, 2022 1:30 am

There were many ingredients in the Republican landslide of 2010. Perhaps most significantly, by raiding $787 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare, Democrats gave away the “Medicare cuts” club they had used to Republicans beat their opponents for decades, who then beat them.

Amazingly, 12 years later, Democrats may be repeating the exact same mistake again, in a last ditch effort to salvage something from the remains of Build Back Better.

This time the presumption is that they can siphon off $200 billion or more of Medicare prescription drug spending and somehow sell it to the political bigwigs by calling it “drug pricing reform,” and then use that money to buy political support through more generous Obamacare subsidies.

The Democrats’ plan would impose price controls through so-called bargaining in which the government would dictate the prices Medicare pays for drugs to manufacturers, who would face a tax of 95 percent of their total sales if they say no . An “offer you can’t refuse” in classic mobster style.

Advocates pretend it’s a free lunch, that seniors will have access to the same drugs at much lower prices. Reality doesn’t work like that.

Imposing price controls to divert hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare prescription drug spending will clearly result in few new cures and treatments available to seniors. An analysis of an earlier version of the Democratic price control plan by University of Chicago researchers found that it would lead to 167 to 324 fewer drugs being developed over the next two decades, with spending on biopharmaceutical research and development reduced by over a billion dollars. .

Meanwhile, the health insurance industry has reveled in larger-than-ever Obamacare subsidies that were packed into President Biden’s $1.9 trillion “Covid-19 relief” bill. The idea of ​​fattening subsidies when claims were at record lows as people avoided seeking health care during the pandemic never made sense, but Biden did it anyway.

Now, the big insurance companies are pushing to get the extended subsidies extended, saying it’s the only way to avoid sharp increases in premiums, even as health care use is still below 2019 levels as many people hesitate to return. doctors and hospitals.

As of 2010, the insurance industry depends on the AARP, which earns more than a billion dollars a year in corporate royalties, most of it from UnitedHealth, to carry its public relations and water pressure. The plan, clearly, is to drain money from Medicare drug spending to funnel it to insurance companies.

The Democrats’ bet would be that lower prices through “negotiation” is an easier message to explain in a campaign context that “price controls cause shortages.” Maybe yes. But the Republican message could be much simpler than that. As simple as: “my opponent voted to drain hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare to spend on Obamacare.”

We’ve seen this before. The result? Republican landslide.

Copyright 2022 Phil Kerpen, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Kerpen can be reached at

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Jennifer Ahdout

Jennifer Ahdout

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