Celebrating Medicare’s 56th anniversary

For 56 years, Medicare has helped pay for medical care for Americans over the age of 65, as well as younger Americans with certain medical needs.

Gabby MigliaraJuly 30, 2021

Celebrating Medicare’s 56th anniversary.

For 56 years, Medicare has helped pay for medical care for Americans over the age of 65, as well as younger Americans with certain medical needs. Today marks Medicare’s anniversary and to celebrate, we are reflecting on the history of the program that benefits more than 60 million Americans.

History of Medicare Graphic

Unfortunately, some members of Congress are considering significant changes to Medicare that could have a devastating effect on millions of Americans. Proponents call these changes government “negotiation,” but what they are actually proposing is anything but that. These politicians want to repeal a key provision of the Medicare Part D program that protects robust coverage and access to medicines for seniors and people with disabilities.

Rather than repealing important protections, we need to take a holistic approach to lowering what people pay out of pocket for medicines and ensuring Americans have access to the treatments their doctors prescribe. There are practical solutions policymakers can consider to modernize Medicare drug coverage and ensure it works even better for beneficiaries.

For example, in the Part D program, policymakers should cap annual out-of-pocket costs, lower cost sharing and make out-of-pocket costs more predictable. For Part B, which covers a wide range of health care services and coverage for physician office visits, hospital outpatient care and medical equipment, policymakers could take steps to ensure beneficiaries benefit more from the lower prices negotiated by large commercial purchasers in the private insurance market, which could save some seniors hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars each year.

We have to lower what patients pay for their medicines AND make sure patients are getting the medicines they need. There’s a way to do both. Learn more at PhRMA.org/BetterWay.

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