U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith and Reps. Angie Craig, Betty McCollum, Ilhan Omar and Dean Phillips are taking credit for helping lower costs for Medicare beneficiaries, which is desirable, but the Minnesota Democrats fail to mention the harm the legislation will do.
Most working Americans will see health insurance costs increase substantially because of the votes of those elected officials who supported the Inflation Reduction Act.
Legislation that lowers prescription drug costs for those on Medicare is important, yet it is no solution if it results in higher prices for those covered by employer-sponsored health plans.
The bill’s exclusion of private payers from both the prescription drug inflation rebate and the provisions that allow for negotiated pricing will result in cost-shifting to employer-provided health plans affecting 177 million workers, which is the last thing they need in these inflationary times.
The goal should have been to pay for prescription drugs based on value and for the benefit of both seniors and working families.
My concern is that the commercial market will not be able to access the same pricing and rebates, resulting in excess costs being passed along to employers and employees, effectively increasing the drug costs for the majority of covered American workers without enhancing value.
A better approach to reforming prescription drug pricing would have included passing on needed savings to employer plans and their employees while incorporating structural reforms that would increase value, encourage competition and provide transparency.
I also wonder how many Medicare beneficiaries understand the effective dates for the upcoming changes. Our country will undergo two nationwide elections before many of the changes will be implemented.
Sens. Klobuchar and Smith and Reps. Craig, McCollum, Omar and Phillips may deny that their votes will adversely affect small businesses and the working men and women who will pay the price, but I believe time will prove these changes to be the equivalent of yet another tax.
Glen Taylor is the owner of the Star Tribune.