President Biden took credit Tuesday for a modest drop in Medicare premiums, but he forgot to mention the reason: His administration is rationing a new drug for Alzheimer’s.
“This year the American people won and Big Pharma lost,” the president said in a speech in which he accused Republicans of trying to roll back entitlements and flogged Medicare drug price controls that Democrats are using to pay for $369 billion in new climate spending. . But the Democrats are the party that cuts Medicare via cost rationing.
He continued: “This morning we had more even good news about lowering costs. The Department of Health and Human Services announced that the premium for Part B will actually reduce this [upcoming] year,” adding that “for years this fee has increased. Now, for the first time in more than a decade, it will go down.”
Mr. Biden wants Americans to believe that drug price controls reduce premiums. But here’s the deal: His administration increased Part B premiums 14.5% this year, blaming the increase on expected high demand for Biogen‘s
Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm, which the Food and Drug Administration approved last summer.
But his administration this spring limited access to the drug because of its high price (originally $56,000) and messy trial data. Only patients who enroll in a randomized controlled trial can receive the drug, the first time the government has limited Medicare drug coverage in this way.
As a result, seniors have largely been unable to take advantage of Aduhelm and have therefore overpaid their Medicare Part B premiums this year. HHS is now making a correction and reducing premiums by 3%. But the standard monthly Medicare premium next year will still be $16 higher than in 2021.
The Democratic Medicare price controls will result in fewer innovative treatments. Biogen on Tuesday published promising trial results for another drug for Alzheimer’s. Let’s hope the Biden administration doesn’t ration it, too.
Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8
Published in the print edition on September 29, 2022.