Program costs and budgets have been hot topics this election cycle, and we can only expect to hear more on money through November. This week brought good and bad news for Medicare patients, as beneficiaries are saving on prescription drugs, but the program faces cuts in the pending budget sequestration:
- The Hill’s Healthwatch covered a highly anticipated report from the White House that discussed the budget-cutting effects of sequestration on Medicare, along with other federal programs and agencies related to health. The administration estimates that sequester would cost the Medicare program $11 billion, and the Food and Drug Administration would lose more than 8 percent of its budget.
- According to USA Today, the Department of Health and Human Services will announce that since the passage of the 2010 health care law, Medicare beneficiaries have saved a total of $4.5 billion on prescription drugs. These savings are related to the discounts that pharmaceutical companies provide to beneficiaries in the coverage gap, or "doughnut hole," as part of the law.
- Policy and Medicine covered a recent CMS report that the average basic premiums of Medicare prescription drugs are projected to remain constant in 2013. Out-of-pocket savings on prescription drugs continue to grow for people with Medicare, with an average savings on medications of $629 per beneficiary in the first half of 2012. The author attributes these savings to Medicare Part D and discounts on prescriptions in the doughnut hole.
Don't expect the conversation around Medicare and budgets to quiet anytime soon. Look out for more on this in the coming weeks on LillyPad.