President Joe Biden on Tuesday touted a decline in costs for tens of millions of Americans covered by the Medicare health program as the country continues to battle with soaring inflation, stating that the "American people won, and Big Pharma lost."
Monthly premiums for Medicare Part B will drop by $5.20 for an annual savings of about $62.
Medicare Part B covers things like clinical research, physician services, outpatient hospital services, and others.
"For years, that fee has gone up. Now, for the first time in more than a decade, it’s going to go down," Biden said. "And [for] millions of seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare, that means more money in their pockets while still getting the care they need."
The President touted his efforts as well as the efforts of his fellow Democrats in Congress in helping to bring health care costs down, citing his recently signed Inflation Reduction Act.
However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency that runs the Medicare program, appeared to contradict Biden's statements in a fact sheet published on Tuesday which noted the majority of the drop in cost is due to its decision to limit coverage of Biogen Inc.'s Aduhelm drug to patients in clinical trials.
"The 2022 premium included a contingency margin to cover projected Part B spending for a new drug, Aduhelm. Lower-than-projected spending on both Aduhelm and other Part B items and services resulted in much larger reserves," the agency said.
Inflation, Rising PremiumsThe program’s annual deductible will also decrease by $7, from $233 to $226, CMS said.
The last time Medicare Part B premiums fell was in 2012, when they declined by 13.4 percent. In 2022, Medicare Part B premiums rose by 14.5 percent, a hike that was majorly driven by the inclusion of Aduhelm, and which further burdened Americans already battling against the increased cost of living.
The reduction in Medicare premiums is likely to be coupled with a historically high cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits, possibly as much as 9 or 10 percent.
Mary Johnson, the Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League, praised Tuesday's announcement from Biden, stating that it was "something we may never see again in the rest of our lives."
"Voters have a clear choice in the midterms as they know Biden and the Democrats sent costs for groceries soaring, created a recession, and increased taxes," the committee said.