Robert Pear wrote last week in the New York Times (“Trump Plan to Lower Drug Prices Could Increase Costs for Some Patients”) that the President’s plan to “inject more competition into the market” and switch coverage of some expensive drugs from Medicare Part B Medicare Part D could significantly increase out-of-pocket costs for some of the sickest people on Medicare.
To truly lower drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries, the Medicare program, and taxpayers, the administration should negotiate prices overall, not one plan at a time. As every big box company knows, that's how to drive down costs. Health economists and Medicare beneficiary advocates have called for overall negotiations since Part D was passed in 2003. Mr. Trump said he would do so during the campaign. At best, these other approaches only whittle away at the edges of the cost problem. It's high time to negotiate drug prices on behalf of all 60 million Medicare beneficiaries.