The AARP has spent much of the past two years going against the needs of its members and trying to sell Obamacare. This organization, created to protect Seniors, had been selling them a bill of goods by telling them that Obamacare will make their medical care cheaper and better. AARP is continuing their disinformation campaign, by publishing a new study about drugs that isn’t exactly truthful.
Many of Obamacare’s come out of the wallets of Older Americans. Taxes on “Cadillac plans,” and investments will be skewed to those older American. There is also the Tax on medical device manufacturers and replacement parts which will be passed on to mostly Senior consumers since the taxed Items are ones that are used mostly by Seniors including Pacemakers, Hip joint replacements, Powered wheelchairs, Hearing aids, and Prosthetic heart valve rotators. Older Americans will also be hurt by the $500,000 cut in medicare.
Why would AARP continue to sell this bill of goods, especially since its provisions are so bad for its membership? As Bloomberg reported this past December, money. AARP makes most of its revenue from selling insurance through licensees, and Obamacare will be an income boom for the specialized kinds of insurance sold at higher than marketplace rates in the name of AARP.
Now AARP is looking to deceive its membership about pharmaceutical costs.
AARP officials were quick to use the results to denounce the drug industry. But the study doesn’t tell the whole story. AARP’s researchers examined only a select group of 217 brand-name pharmaceuticals and didn’t look at the whole picture of drug spending – or health spending overall.
According to the Consumer Price Index — the government’s official inflation numbers – drug prices increased by 3.4 percent overall last year. Between 2005 and 2009, drug prices increased an average of 3 percent per year. During the same period, general inflation averaged just slightly less at 2.6 percent annually.
Meanwhile, the AARP study ignored other parts of the health sector that also significantly outpaced inflation and which consume a much greater share of the health care dollar. Hospital services, for example, take the biggest share of health spending, and those prices have increased by an average of 6.6 percent annually since 2005. We’re waiting for that AARP study.
And it ignored the capacity of seniors to seek better value in their drug spending. Many opt for generic versions of the brand-name drugs listed in the study. The AARP says that 70 of the 217 drugs in its survey are available as generics – drugs which are chemically equivalent to their brand-name counterparts
Once they arrive on pharmacy shelves, low-cost generics clobber their competition. The sales for an average brand-name drug drop 90 percent once its generic equivalent comes out. A study on prescription-drug prices that fails to consider seniors’ actual spending on generics is not telling the full story.
Consider also the Medicare prescription drug benefit, which began in 2006. The program empowers seniors to shop for the best, most cost-effective drug benefits from plans that are competing for their enrollment. Largely as a result of these competitive pressures, the program has generated huge savings for seniors and for taxpayers. Seniors have a choice of brand-name drugs and generics with prices negotiated by the drug plans to generate discounts through volume purchasing.
According to a recent Medicare Trustees report, the cost of the program is about 40 percent lower than originally estimated. It is also saving seniors money. This year, the average monthly drug premium is about $30. That’s an increase of just one dollar over last year’s figure. CMS also projects that 99 percent of seniors participating in the program will be able to choose a plan next year that has the same or lower premiums as their current plan.
Maybe the AARP just wants to take attention from the fact that Obamacare is hurting the prescription drug program. An analysis by research company Avalere Health shows that a plan by Medicare to try to make it simpler for consumers to pick drug coverage could force 3 million seniors to switch plans next year whether they like it or not. These seniors see their will see their prescription plan eliminated as part of a new effort by Medicare to eliminate duplicate plans that offer the similar coverage. These seniors would not lose coverage, but they probably will see changes in their premiums and co-payments.
AARP’s study doesn’t present an accurate picture of the American drug market. Some brand-name drugs are increasing in price. Others aren’t. And three of every four drugs dispensed is a generic, but the study ignored them.
As usual AARP is using misinformation to do disservice to its membership. This time by presenting a selective and biased study. Its sad that this once strong protector of Seniors has become a hindrance by withholding and slanting info.