Drug prices in the U.S. are ridiculously high. Anyone who has ever filled a prescription or has a family member with a medical condition requiring drug treatment knows this all too well. And it’s one of those only-in-the U.S.-type problems, as Americans pay significantly more on prescription drugs than people in every other developed economy. A vial of insulin, for example, costs nearly $100 in the U.S, compared with less than $7 in Australia. This problem is especially bad for seniors.

The new climate, health care and tax law that President Joe Biden just signed is supposed to change this. One of the provisions receiving the most attention will let Medicare, for the first time, negotiate drug prices, thus lowering how much the government spends on prescriptions.

But will it save much money for seniors, or lower drug prices for anyone under 65? Simon Haeder, a health policy expert at Texas A&M University, is skeptical. He explains why the impact of letting Medicare negotiate drug prices will be modest and highlights the provisions in the new law that may actually make a big dent in struggling seniors’ drug bills.

Also today:

Bryan Keogh

Deputy Managing Editor

Drug prices have been soaring in recent years. stevecoleimages/E+ via Getty Inages

Why letting Medicare negotiate drug prices won’t be the game-changer for health care Democrats hope it will be

Simon F. Haeder, Texas A&M University

A new law will let Medicare bargain for the first time. But a health policy scholar explains why it’s unlikely to make much of a difference in how much seniors – or anyone else – pays for their meds.

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