President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address was his opportunity to promote his “successes” and lay out his roadmap. In touting the so-called Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) he wasted no breath, claiming it was a victory for patients due to the law’s new prescription drug price controls. That was one of many “misstatements” as it has been mislabeled and will soon hurt seniors with a raid on Medicare and Americans losing access to drugs that are currently in development.
After this election-year bill was passed, Democrats falsely declared victory over high drug prices. Sadly, too many Republicans were silent. The average American deserves to fully understand the IRA, who it really rewards, and how the law is nothing less than an ideological push aimed at furthering socialized medicine before delivering results.
In recent days culminating in the State of the Union address, the president claimed “historic progress” “on lowering health care costs under his watch, including steps to strengthen Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)” and touting the new prescription drug provisions, which will mandate Medicare be able to negotiate drug prices.” His definition of progress is giving seniors fewer choices, innovators fewer incentives, redefining “negotiation” as “extortion,” expanding Obamacare and Medicaid and raiding Medicare for green new deal projects.
What the IRA actually does is not as straightforward as Democrats and aligned groups like AARP and left-wing think tanks would have you believe. The nasty side-effects of price controls on Medicare Part D drugs are impossible to ignore, considering this policy stunts American efforts to cure illnesses, harms drug access, and reduces options for patients relying on carefully designed drug regimens. How badly will this hurt the creation of new and life-changing drugs? A University of Chicago issue brief showed the law would result in a whopping 135 fewer new drugs, impacting the lives of 2.47 million patients. Four innovator-sponsored clinical trials have already been canceled in the first four months. How many of those drugs would have been breakthrough cures? How many would have changed the lives of patients hoping for better treatments?
Biden’s IRA victory lap does little to alleviate the unnecessary burden on Americans who are struggling with their health. America ought to lead the way in creating new and innovative treatments. The IRA even cuts back on the Trump administration’s anti-kickback regulations that limited the power of PBMs and would have lowered drug list prices. And perhaps it was a coincidence that President Biden conveniently forgot to mention that the IRA doles out billions in Medicare savings to giant health insurance companies.
It is truly something. On one hand, the Democrats crafted the IRA as a step toward an EU-style healthcare system. On the other hand, the law also hands taxpayer funding intended for Medicare to their friends in the insurance-PBM industry. Over $270 billion gone from Medicare in the name of socialist price controls, gifted to giant insurance corporations and PBMs. Isn’t that a slap in the face of people relying on Medicare?
All this being said, Biden, his party, big insurers, and supposedly “non-partisan” organizations are hijacking America’s health system for both personal benefit and ideological reasons. In the case of outside parties, they may have supported the IRA to earn a windfall. For the Democrats, moving healthcare closer to what citizens have in London and Toronto is becoming more and more their guiding light. As the IRA will soon prove, socialized medicine, with its rationed care and fewer choices for Americans, will have serious consequences for all Americans.