Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Smart shopping by the federal government

| April 27, 2023 12:00 AM

When I want to buy a new car, I want to be able to negotiate a price rather than blindly pay the asking price. That’s because I’m a smart shopper.

A recent letter to the editor in the Valley Journal stated that Medicare Advantage is being cut by $307 billion, and criticized Jon Tester because he voted for it. “Cut” is incorrect. Quite the opposite, it’s a savings. Medicare can now provide the same or better coverage to the letter writer, plus save a huge amount of federal money. This is a good thing for Medicare.

The federal government is sometimes a smart shopper, too. Recently, the government passed

legislation allowing negotiation of drug prices with pharmaceutical companies for Medicare accounts. That negotiation is saving the US government a bundle. A really big bundle.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates negotiating Medicare prescription prices will save the federal government $237 billion over a decade. This is not a cut to Medicare; it’s a cut to federal deficit. That’s a win-win. Lowering the cost of a service, while still providing the same service, is a savings, not a cut.

Think of all the places that money can be used, lowering debt, improving education, national security.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “The law actually improved Medicare’s drug benefit by tackling high drug prices, a longstanding concern for people with Medicare, and capping what Medicare beneficiaries pay out of pocket for prescription drugs, along with other drug benefit improvements, like free vaccines and capping insulin copays.”

That’s smart shopping by the federal government.

Stephanie Brancati

Big Arm

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