AMAC Action is extremely disappointed to learn of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recent announcement to raise the Medicare Part B premium by nearly $260 a year. CMS also announced a $30 increase in the annual deductible for Medicare Part B beneficiaries.
CMS noted early in a press release that most Medicare beneficiaries will see a 5.9 percent increase cost of living adjustment in their 2022 Social Security benefits which they say, “will more than cover the increase in the Medicare Part B premium.”
AMAC Action President Bob Carlstrom called out CMS’ rationale for the premium increase saying, “Any increase in Social Security benefits will already be diluted by the aggressive inflation afflicting our economy before beneficiaries receive it. This means that the increase in Part B premiums, which is the largest in the history of the program, will negatively influence a retiree’s cash flow. $260 may not sound like a lot to working people, but it can be a significant sum for seniors living on a fixed income.”
CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure cited how “rising drug costs threaten the affordability and sustainability of the Medicare program.” It does not make sense to raise the Medicare Part B premium and deductible, which covers physician services, to compensate for increased drug prices. AMAC Action suggests that if the Biden Administration were truly serious about lowering drug costs, they would make an effort to examine the business practices of pharmacy benefit managers (PBM), organizations that have been shown to have an adverse impact on the overall costs and prices for drugs.
Carlstrom continued, “It’s clear that the Biden Administration is using this premium increase as a ploy to push the Democrats’ proposal to lower drug costs by price-fixing pharmaceuticals, a strategy we believe will lead to decreased access to new and innovative therapies for people who need them most and potential drug rationing. AMAC Action will continue to fight for the well-being of America’s seniors and to make their needs a priority for this administration.”
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