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New Report Highlights Recent Proposals to Control Prescription Drug Costs

a roll of bills from which spill out pills of many colors

Prescription drug affordability within the Medicare program remains a top concern for many Americans, and policymakers are responding. Members of Congress are working on legislative solutions, and the Trump administration has unveiled a variety of regulatory proposals. Several 2020 presidential candidates have also weighed in, outlining their vision for the future.

Though some of these approaches are more likely than others to effectively control Medicare spending and improve beneficiary access to affordable prescription drugs, in sum they are indicative of broad agreement across the political spectrum on the need for reform.

A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation examines a number of these proposed and recent changes—including those related to the Part D benefit design, the Low Income Subsidy (LIS) program, drug importation, generic drug availability, and price transparency—outlining the implications for people with Medicare and the program itself. This comprehensive resource will be updated ongoingly to reflect evolving policy discussions.

Medicare Rights is encouraged by recent and growing recognition among policymakers about the need to address high and rising prescription drug prices. We support much of the bipartisan work currently underway, including, most recently—as outlined in our letter to the committee and statement for the record—provisions in the Senate Finance Committee’s draft bill that would, in part, cap out-of-pocket drug costs for beneficiaries, shift liability in the Part D benefit to drug manufacturers and plans, and make the Limited Income Newly Eligible Transition (LI NET) program permanent.

We also continue to advocate for the inclusion of long overdue changes to the current system—such as legislation to modernize the Part D appeals process and updates to Medicare’s low-income assistance programs—in any comprehensive reform bill. These policy solutions are needed to ensure that any such package improves the nation’s drug pricing system in ways that prioritize beneficiary health and economic security.

Read the Kaiser Family Foundation’s report, A Look at Recent Proposals to Control Drug Spending by Medicare and its Beneficiaries.

Read Medicare Rights’ fact sheet on the Streamlining Part D Appeals Process Act (S. 1861/H.R. 3924).

For more on why the bill is needed and who it would help, see Medicare Rights’ case study.

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