Jump to content

The Protestant Community

Sincerely inquiring about the Protestant faith? Welcome to Christforums the Christian Protestant community forums. You'll first need to register in order to join our community. Create or respond to threads on your favorite topics and subjects. Registration takes less than a minute, it's simple, fast, and free! Enjoy the fellowship! God bless, Christforums' Staff
Register now

Christian Fellowship Community Forums

John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
Sign in to follow this  
CDN

AARP Called Out For Opposing Trump Administration Drug Pricing Proposal Designed To Help Seniors

Recommended Posts

By Evie Fordham -

AARP-Card-250x168.jpg

http://dailycaller.com/

  • Critics of America’s current drug payment system say middlemen called pharmacy benefit managers are jacking up prices.
  • They’re questioning why AARP, which is tied to a really big middleman organization, opposes a Trump administration rule that could help seniors.
  • AARP has defined itself “as being for kickbacks that are costing the American patient money at the pharmacy counter,” Practicing Physicians of America co-founder Dr. Marion Mass told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Critics of America’s current drug payment system say middlemen are jacking up prices and question why AARP, which is tied to a middleman organization, opposes a Trump administration proposal that could help seniors.

Right now, these middleman organizations, called pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), are protected by safe harbor provisions from certain parts of the Anti-Kickback Statute. In order to get their drugs on health plans’ formularies, or lists of drugs that payors cover, drug manufacturers pay rebates to PBMs, Medicare Part D plans and Medicaid managed care organizations. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar calls them “kickbacks.”

The proposed rule would end the exception but still allow rebates “for prescription drug discounts offered directly to patients, as well as fixed fee service arrangements between drug manufacturers and PBMs,” HHS said in January.

Comments on the proposal closed April 8, the same day that AARP submitted a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) criticizing it. AARP believes drug manufacturers, not PBMs, are to blame, the organization told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement last week.

“We strongly agree with President [Donald] Trump on the need to address soaring drug prices, but on the rebate rule, [the Congressional Budget Office] has said it would raise all seniors’ Part D premiums, cost Medicare nearly $200 [billion], and have little impact on drug prices,” an AARP spokesperson said in a statement to TheDCNF.

Philadelphia-area pediatrician Marion Mass, co-founder of Practicing Physicians of America, connects AARP’s stance to its partnership with UnitedHealth Group (UHG), which runs PBM Optum Rx.

“AARP, in your relationship with mega PBM Optum, you’ve defined yourself as being for kickbacks that are costing the American patient money at the pharmacy counter and in hospitals. … You don’t stand for America, you stand for yourselves,” Mass told TheDCNF in a phone interview.

‘An Absolute Powerhouse’

Much of AARP’s revenue comes from its connection to UHG. While AARP collected about $301 million in membership dues in 2017, the organization took in about $627 million in royalties from UHG that year, according to AARP’s financial statement. That’s out of a total operating revenue of roughly $1.6 billion.

AARP has profited by letting UHG sell Medicare Advantage health benefits and Medicare Part D drug benefits under the AARP brand since 1997, according to Forbes. AARP also makes hundreds of millions of dollars each year in net investment through its grantor trust, where it initially collects insurance premiums received from participating members, including those who buy UHG products.

An AARP spokesperson issued the following statement to TheDCNF:

AARP is a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization that serves Americans age 50-plus — work that is supported by diverse sources of revenue, including member dues, advertising income, program fees, and royalty income, all audited, disclosed and published on our website. We advocate for policies that are in the best interests of seniors without regard to how it impacts any of our licensing agreements, as we’ve demonstrated time and again by fighting for health insurance reform, against an Age Tax on older Americans, and against rolling back protections for people with pre-existing conditions, for example.

Here’s What The CBO Has To Say

AARP’s $200 billion claim about the rebate rule is close to the $170 billion 10-year increase in federal spending on Part D premiums that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted earlier in May.

That’s because the federal government subsidizes nearly 75 percent of the basic Medicare Part D beneficiary premium. If plans could not directly receive the rebates, premiums will go up and the federal government will have to pay more, according to the CBO.

Some patients might see a net benefit from lower drug prices even if premiums increased, but others would not, the CBO said.

But CBO also predicted that the rebate rule would enable seniors “to better adhere to their prescribed drug regimens,” which would reduce payments for hospital and physician care. CBO projects that tradeoff will cut Medicare spending by $10 billion between 2020 and 2029.

CBO isn’t the only group that crunched the numbers on the rebate rule. Actuarial firm Milliman examined various scenarios and found the rule could cut federal spending by almost $100 billion or increase it by about $139 billion over the 2020-2029 period, according to CBO.

Not Far Enough?

The HHS rule does not go far enough, Mass said.

“No manufacturing, no development, no distribution even. [The PBMs and group purchasing organizations] just simply decide who’s going on the formularies and what products are used in hospitals and nursing homes,” she said. “Why should anyone have legalized kickbacks? … There’s three giant PBMs, there’s four giant group purchasing organizations, and these companies are pretty much running the American pharmaceutical supply.”

Andy Mangione, vice president of AARP competitor Association of Mature American Citizens, echoed Mass’ opinion during a phone interview with TheDCNF.

“We feel that the pay-to-play situation that emerged with the middlemen is driving up the costs of prescription medication,” Mangione said. “It’s stifling production, it’s creating artificial shortages and our members, as well as all Americans, are paying for it when they go to pick up their prescription at the local pharmacy.”

Like Azar, Mangione calls the rebates kickbacks. Azar claimed in February that commercial health insurance plans will follow suit if the Medicare Part D and Medicaid rule goes into effect, according to Modern Healthcare.

CBO said it does not expect the final rebate rule to be issued before mid-June. It’s part of a larger push to cut drug prices from the Trump administration that is beginning to show results. For example, drug prices are set to be included in television ads as early as this summer after the administration finalized the proposal May 7.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected]

AARP Called Out For Opposing Trump Administration Drug Pricing Proposal Designed To Help Seniors is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

View the original full article

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...