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Democratic Senators to GOP: Way ahead of you on Medicare savings

Over the course of the budget debate, a number of top Republicans have complained that Democrats don’t have their plan to fix Medicare’s finances. Finally, a group of Democratic Senators has responded with a letter reminding Republican leader Mitch McConnell that by the way, we passed one last year:

“The Affordable Care Act makes significant changes to our health care system to control health care costs, changes that are already under way. To protect Medicare, we should build on these kinds of delivery system reforms, rather than cut seniors’ benefits. […]

“Program changes made in the Affordable Care Act have improved substantially the outlook for Medicare and thus fulfilled the promise of lower costs, improved care and better health for seniors,” Whitehouse wrote. “Estimates indicate that the new benefits and services provided to seniors by the Affordable Care Act will save the typical senior over $3,500 over the next decade. The reforms are projected to save Medicare over $100 billion in the next five years.”

Meanwhile, House Democrats have introduced a bill that would save Medicare another $100 billion, by “eliminating a sweetheart deal for brand-name drug manufacturers“:

Prior to 2006, the government received substantial rebates on drugs used by “dual eligible” Medicare and Medicaid enrollees. However, beginning in 2006, the Republicans’ Medicare Part D law eliminated these rebates, dramatically raising prices for the government and profits for manufacturers. The Part D deal resulted in a substantial drug manufacturer windfall. The bill eliminates the windfall and requires that manufacturers pay the rebates for dual eligible and low-income Part D enrollees, ensuring that taxpayers and the Medicare program do not overpay for Part D drugs.

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