The Motley Fool published an article that posted the question: What if Medicare Had Teeth? This question was prompted by increased concerns over the recent increases in the price of certain prescription medications. Even if Part D covers much of the cost for seniors, certain increases are bound to eventually get passed on to Medicare beneficiaries and all taxpayers in the form of higher premiums and reduced benefits.
It’s interesting to compare Medicare to Medicaid. Medicaid, the government health program for poor people, has always covered prescriptions. This is something that’s fairly new to Medicare, and only came with the creation of Part D plans. The other relevant point is that Medicaid does use inflation-based controls on drug prices, and they seem to be working pretty well.
The Motley Fool article was mostly aimed at people who invest in drug makers. Their advice was to be wary of companies that rely upon big increases in drug prices to profit because some control may be implemented in the future. After all Medicare Part D plans pay for a large percentage of prescription drug costs right now. However, it was also sympathetic to every Medicare beneficiary and taxpayer who may feel gouged by these practices.