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WASHINGTON — President Biden told Congress Wednesday to let Medicare negotiate drug prices this year. But it’s an empty call to action.

“Let’s give Medicare the power to save hundreds of billions of dollars by negotiating lower prices for prescription drugs. That won’t just help people on Medicare – it will lower prescription drug costs for everyone,” Biden said in his address. “Let’s get it done this year.”

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  • Why is this so hard? Everolimus, a long-standing cancer drug, costs Medicare over $12,000 a month. Most Advantage part D plans charge patients about $2500 a month for it. Yet MA Health Connector insurers get the same drug for $6,000 and there is zero patient copay, because skipping a dose of this or any cancer drug can lead to vastly higher treatment costs.

    In general, any Massachusetts resident on an individual Obamacare policy will see out-of-pocket costs triple when FORCED by law to switch to Medicare at age 65.

    OK, progressives lie on this issue because they insist Medicare is cheap and wonderful, and insurance companies are evil. Conservatives lie because they want to protect a small slice of corporate profits, obviously by hurting the sick.

    But why isn’t this a simple fix? Let Medicare negotiate! You know, like any other insurance company.

  • The administration also needs to worry about getting shots into arms…especially as we move towards the more vaccine hesitant population- bashing Pharma as “evil” isn’t going to help achieve that goal

    A campaign using preCOVID talking points about how Pharma is only bad, only cares about money, doesn’t care about patients at all that the left is eager to launch… is going to be a major impediment to getting those hesitant to get a vaccine to choose to do so.

    Like them or hate them (and at STAT it is obvious it is the later), but drug companies did deliver big time with vaccines in record time and we need the population to accept the vaccines to get out of the pandemic. To just recycle 2019 talking points and ignore the current realities isn’t going to work.

    • Because people on part D tier 5 drugs often pay $30,000 a year out of pocket, making Medicare far more expensive than coverage by private insurers. That’s why. Doesn’t bother you. Bothers the people who have to pay, or die.

  • You write as though we should take this address, and this president in particular, seriously. You were taught well in journo school, Rachel, to get the oh-so-proper tone. You have a bright future in the biz.

    How many howlers were there in this speech? Too many to count. The biggest of course, was the idea that the January 6th protests were “the “…the worst attack on our Democracy since the Civil War.” Have we forgotten Pearl Harbor? September 11th? Or, should it come to pass that it’s true, some lab rat at the Wuhan virology institute who forgot to close the door on the way out of the lab, releasing a virulent “gain of function” experimental virus that killed millions of people and destroyed the economic and social lives of millions of others.

    When a president utters an inanities like the “worst attack” it’s turtles all the way down.

    But wait, the idiocy doesn’t stop there — we have this line, “”Nobody should have to choose between a job and a paycheck.” Say what?? And what we need is “a dose of hope??” Rachel, you oughta march right over the White House and tell Biden’s handlers that this is pathetic prose and you’ve arrived to clean up the mess.

    Aside from the inanities and the pathetic absurd spectacle of social distancing masking with a group of people who have already been vaccinated, the sops to having government solve medical problems was laced throughout the speech. The “health care is a right” trope is tiresome and completely ignorant about the complex economic issues — that’s right, there’s economics in them thar’ hills.

    The solution from our elites? Let’s have everyone have the same plan and then we give those big bad drug companies the what-for, and we fix prices!!! Hooray!! Because the pharma business will continue to innovate, and medicine will be really cheap and we will get all the care we need, anytime we need it!!

    It will be perfect then!! Great!!

    • January 6th was a direct attack on the democratic process. Pearl Harbor and 9/11 had nothing to do with Democracy. The Japanese weren’t trying to install a minority-rule president by overturning the will of the American people.

      The full quote was: “No one should have to choose between (a job and a paycheck) OR (taking care of themselves and their loved ones, or parent or spouse or child.)” I added the parentheses to make it clearer, but I’m guessing that you already understood what he meant, and are just pretending not to in bad faith.

      We ALREADY HAVE price fixing on pharmaceuticals. Banning Medicare from negotiating with drug companies is economically indistinguishable from a price floor. Banning the reimportation of American-made drugs is a price floor.

  • unless congress passes legislation to make donations by all medical companies illegal from K street it will never ever happen ; they spend hundreds of millions every year buying votes but their profits are in the billions

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