While I would love to see much less dependence on medications and much more on healthy lifestyle changes, the fact that the Affordable Care Act has already kept $4 billion in the bank accounts of American seniors and out of the hands of the drug companies strikes me as a positive development that deserves to be widely publicized.
That’s what a new report from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services has documented.
When the Medicare drug benefit was passed by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2004, it was structured so that 100% of the costs were added to the federal deficit. In contrast, the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (aka Obamacare) was structured so as to decrease the deficit, in accordance with the estimates by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
The Medicare agency released figures showing that millions of seniors and people with disabilities have saved $3.9 billion on medications since the law was enacted.
The data also showed that since the beginning of the year, more than 1 million Medicare beneficiaries have saved an average of $629 on prescriptions in the “doughnut hole” coverage gap.
“Millions of people with Medicare have been paying less for prescription drugs thanks to the healthcare law,” said Marilyn Tavenner, the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“Seniors and people with disabilities have already saved close to $4 billion. In 2020, the doughnut hole will be closed thanks to the Affordable Care Act.”
To close the doughnut hole, the government will cover more and more of the value of brand-name and generic drugs until 2020, when seniors will be responsible for 25 percent of the cost for each.