CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure cites the rising cost of drugs as a tangible threat to the sustainability of the Medicare program, yet it doesn’t make sense to raise the Medicare Part B premium and deductible, which covers physician services, to compensate for increased drug prices.
November 19, 2021
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
200 Independence Avenue S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Re: Medicare Part B Premium Increase
Dear Administrator Brooks-LaSure:
On behalf of the 2.3 million members of AMAC – Association of Mature American Citizens, I write to offer our great disappointment in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ recent announcement to increase both the Medicare Part B premium and deductible for 2022.
You mention in the November 12 press release announcing these increases that “most people with Medicare will see a 5.9 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in their 2022 Social Security benefits.” You also mention that this COLA increase “will more than cover the increase in the Medicare Part B monthly premium.”
As an organization with more than 2.3 million members throughout the country, many of whom are both Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries, we respectfully disagree. Any advantage the increase in
the COLA would provide Social Security beneficiaries next year has already been negatively impacted by the broad-based inflation1 our economy is currently experiencing.
As many of our members live on fixed incomes, we are particularly concerned with the significant increases in the prices of energy and food which customarily hit senior citizens’ budgets the hardest. After accounting for these inflationary increases, it appears there will be very little, if anything, left for retirees to balance the increase in their Medicare Part B premium, even if it is “just” nearly $260 a year.
You cite the rising cost of drugs as a tangible threat to the sustainability of the Medicare program. It does not make sense to raise the Medicare Part B premium and deductible, which covers physician services, to compensate for increased drug prices. Instead, we urge you to examine the business
practices of pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) as means to substantively lower drug costs. Experts say these drug supply chain intermediaries drive up the cost of medicine and threaten the viability of independently owned pharmacies.
Also, a forum was recently held on Capitol Hill by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform regarding the role PBMs play in drug pricing. AMAC strongly advises that more scrutiny be done by Congress and your agency to study how the consolidation of PBMs could no longer benefit patients,
including Medicare beneficiaries.
We believe evaluating PBM business practices represents a reasonable strategy for lowering drug costs that could yield significant savings for both the Medicare program and the beneficiaries it serves. Please do not burden America’s seniors with increased premiums, particularly during the inflationary times in which we find ourselves, when there are worthwhile solutions to address drug costs.
Thank you for your consideration.
President, AMAC Action
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Yea I pay 170 a month now since the cola increase why did it increase because of the cola raise? Too much!!????
2022 Medicare cost increase 14% is due to covering cost of a new Alzheimer’s treatment Aduhelm, which comes at a price tag set $56,000 per patient annually. This should be covered under Part D prescription drug program not Part B.
The government gave us the “raise”, and the government is taking back the brunt of the “raise”. Typical of the democraps.
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Thank you for addressing this issue. I am a 72 year old Registered Nurse who retired Jan 1, 2021. I pay $544 a month for Part B. It will take at least 2 years I’m told before this will be possibly reduced to a more normal cost. Between taxes on my Social Security and Part B I lose a third of my social security.
I also lost a quarter of my retirement due to not realizing the government charges 8% on retirement taken out if you leave and come back. My $12000 pay back is now a $54000 pay back. I wasn’t aware of that until I retired. If you don’t pay it back you lose a quarter of your retirement – thank you for your service….
So while we’re giving money away freely we’re taking money away. I don’t think Registered Nurses were exactly the “wealthy” most people have in mind to pay the national debt. But I think it’s people like me, who worked all their lives and paid their taxes who are going to whine up paying it.
It appears that this administration is out to screw the little man. I don’t know where this admistration digs up these people. A Attorney General that sicks the FBI on parents. A known associated Communist to manage the dollar, A totally against the second amendment person being put in charge of the ATF. A VP put in control of the Border. The people you are hurting by these choices. Boy this is not going to look good on any of your resome’s but they really don’t care because none of you will have to suffer from it. I think this Chiquita Brooks-LaSure should have to give a better explination on this or be removed from this position. The lies are total BS but we out here are stupid but this is what you want us to be.
If Congress was really concerned with the increasing price of prescription drugs for Medicare recipients, it would allow the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to negotiate drug prices with the drug manufacturers.
The CMS is allowed to negotiate prices with hospitals and doctors but not with drug companies. Why ?
Because money is flowing from the drug companies into the campaign war chests of our Senators and House Reps of both the GOP and the Dems and our politicians are addicted to cash.
This letter will be scanned into the digital retention system required by law, for all correspondence with federal government agencies, and then be deposited into the same large waste container, after being shredded of course, that ends up being the final home for all the other criticisms of Medicare actions over the years.
The way the CMS system works, as well as the rest of the federal government, is that by the time annual Medicare adjustments have been publicly announced, virtually everything has already been signed off on and approved up the chain of command. This is an annual, months long process that culminates in the public announcement at this time of the year. The public notification process is the very last item in the whole chain of events, so you shouldn’t expect any changes at this point. If the objective was to influence the final outcome for what would be done in 2022, AMAC should have been meeting a number of times with the Cabinet Secretary of HHS several months ago. I can guarantee you that members of the drug companies, various medical and medical equipment organizations and others who wanted the Medicare premiums and deductibles increased did.