On behalf of the Medicare Rights Center (Medicare Rights), thank you for your work to improve coverage and lower costs for people with Medicare, including the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3). We are pleased to strongly support this landmark bill.
The Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs, and public policy initiatives. Our organization provides services and resources to nearly three million people with Medicare, family caregivers, and health care professionals each year.
Based on this experience, we know that people with Medicare are uniquely impacted by high and rising prescription drug prices. This is partly due to utilization and health status, as Medicare Part D enrollees take an average of 4 to 5 prescriptions per month, and over two-thirds have multiple chronic conditions.1 At the same time, many Medicare beneficiaries live on fixed or limited incomes that cannot keep pace with rapidly escalating drug prices. Half of all Medicare beneficiaries—nearly 30 million people—live on $26,200 or less per year, and one quarter have less than $14,550 in savings.2 As a result, most people with Medicare cannot afford to pay more for care. Yet, drug prices continue to climb. Price hikes on brand name drugs have exceeded the rate of inflation every year since at least 20063 and new drugs are launching at ever-higher price points, further embedding unaffordability into the system.
Any changes to the Medicare program must aim for healthier people, better care, and smarter spending—not paying more for less. As policymakers debate the future of health care, we will provide our insights here.
Thinking ahead to Medicare's future, it’s important to modernize benefits and pursue changes that improve how people with Medicare navigate their coverage on a daily basis. Here are our evolving 30 policy goals for Medicare’s future.
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