July 23, 2024


Health's Like Heaven.

Do our lawmakers want to hurt America’s Hispanic seniors?

2 min read

Dr. Yanira Cruz

Congressional lawmakers plan to use their multi-trillion-dollar reconciliation bill to make the biggest change to Medicare in generations. Specifically, they want the government to “negotiate” drug prices directly with pharmaceutical companies, a move they claim will save hundreds of billions of dollars and make patients better off.

They’re only half right. A closer look at the bill reveals that these wouldn’t be “negotiations” in any meaningful sense of the word. Lawmakers intend to simply dictate the prices they’re willing to pay for medicines.

That would save money, of course — but only at the expense of patients’ health. Many other countries already employ this same approach. Their government officials achieve savings by rationing access to lifesaving medicines.

Seniors, especially older Hispanics, would be hardest hit by this rationing, since they disproportionately rely on Medicare prescription drug plans to stay healthy.

Yanira Cruz

We don’t have to imagine what this limited access would look like: We already see it abroad. Almost 90 percent of the new drugs developed between 2011 and 2017 are available in the United States. But in Britain and France, where government officials determine which drugs should and shouldn’t be covered, only 67 percent and 48 percent are available, respectively. Where would you choose to be a patient?

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