The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that a Medicare prescription drug plan would cost US taxpayers $177 billion over a 10-year period, as reported Star Tribune.
Under the proposal, rebates paid by drugmakers to pharmacy benefit managers would directly go to Medicare patients when they fill prescriptions under Part D.
The budget office concluded that drugmakers would be unlikely to lower their prices in response to the plan and would instead reimburse pharmacies for rebates provided to patients as they fill prescriptions.
"Some beneficiaries would pay lower prices on their prescription drugs, and for some beneficiaries, those reductions would be greater than their premium increases," the CBO commented, adding "for other beneficiaries — namely those who use few drugs or drugs without significant rebates — the premium increase would outweigh the price reductions."
However, the CBO said that patients who cannot currently afford their copays would benefit from the plan by being able to remain on treatment, thereby reducing Medicare hospital and outpatient spending by approximately $20 million over 10 years.
"The Part D benefit is very competitive," stated the Department of Health and Human Services, continuing "as such, we agree with [other experts] who find it unlikely that Part D plans would so grossly increase premiums and allow manufacturers to increase their prices or hold back currently paid rebates."
To read more NewsPoints articles, click here.