President Biden’s budget proposal has a strong focus on expanding access to health care and reducing the cost of prescription drugs.
In an effort to extend the life of Medicare’s hospital trust fund, the budget proposal would increase the number of drugs that can be negotiated and allow those negotiations to begin earlier.
The plan builds on the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which gave Medicare the power to negotiate the prices of up to 20 drugs a year — though the drugs can only qualify after they’ve been on the market for at least nine years.
The IRA passed by a Democratic vote last year, and some in the GOP have already said they will seek to overturn it.
Another IRA provision that would give a boost to the budget is the requirement that drug companies pay Medicare rebates if they increase prices faster than inflation. Under the White House’s proposal, this requirement would also extend to the commercial market.
The budget also aims to extend the $35 insulin cap to the private sector. Under the IRA, Medicare beneficiaries pay no more than $35 out of pocket for insulin.
A proposal to cap the cost for all Americans was rejected by Senate Republicans.
The White House budget also includes proposals to expand ObamaCare programs.
She is calling for a permanent expansion of expanded subsidies for health plans on the exchanges, which currently expire at the end of 2025. The expanded subsidies make insurance premiums free for most Americans with incomes just above the poverty line and lower premium costs for higher-income Americans.
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The budget also provides “Medicaid-like” coverage for eligible individuals in states that have not yet expanded Medicaid coverage, coupled with financial incentives to ensure states maintain their existing expansions.
Republicans began blowing up elements of the budget before it was officially released and are unlikely to support the proposals.
The White House has described the budget as a “blueprint” to build on progress made in the first two years of administration. She claims that Republicans have “taken a very different approach” and want to increase the nation’s debt.
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