Here's How Biden Wants to Save Medicare

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  • President Biden recently outlined his proposed budget for the 2024 fiscal year, with a strong focus on reducing healthcare costs for Americans -- including seniors who rely on Medicare.
  • Proposed changes include giving the Health and Human Services more power to negotiate Medicare drug prices, capping cost-sharing for certain generic medications, boosting Medicare funding, and lowering mental health costs for beneficiaries.

In his recently released budget proposal, President Biden included several budget measures that could help strengthen the Medicare program.

President Biden recently released his proposed budget for the 2024 fiscal year. Many of the included proposed Medicare changes could help American seniors save money. Since Republicans control the House, it's unlikely that these budget changes will pass as is. However, his budget proposal is worth discussing because if the measures became a reality, they could improve the personal finances of many older Americans.

The budget has a big focus on lowering healthcare costs

Much of the proposed budget focuses on reducing healthcare costs. Biden hopes to make healthcare more affordable for Americans and strengthen the Medicare program for seniors.

Biden hopes to save Medicare with the following proposed budget plans:

Give the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) more power to negotiate Medicare drug prices: Biden hopes to lower prescription drug prices by giving the HHS more ability to negotiate Medicare drug prices. This proposed change would save the government money and lower out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for beneficiaries. It's estimated that this initiative would cut Federal spending by $160 billion.

Cap Part D cost-sharing for high-value generic drugs: In the budget, Biden also outlines his plans to cap Medicare Part D cost-sharing for certain high-value generic medications used for chronic conditions like high cholesterol and hypertension. He proposes limiting cost-sharing to $2 per prescription per month.

Boost Medicare funding: Biden wants to increase funding for Medicare so the program can operate for at least another 25 years. He hopes to do this without reducing benefits or raising costs for beneficiaries. Medicare would be funded by increasing the Medicare tax rate on incomes above $400,000, closing existing Medicare tax loopholes, and using savings from proposed prescription drug reforms. It's unlikely that Republicans in Congress will agree to increase taxes for high-earners.

Lower mental health costs for Medicare participants: The current administration wants to continue prioritizing mental health care. Biden proposes requiring Medicare Part B to cover up to three behavioral health visits yearly without cost-sharing, beginning in 2025. This change could help more Americans access affordable mental health care.

Biden discussed his budget goals in a recent opinion piece

Biden's recent opinion piece in The New York Times further explained his plans to save Medicare. He explained that millions of Americans pay into Medicare their entire lives and should be confident they can count on the program when they retire.

He mentions that current projections show that the Medicare trust fund will be exhausted in 2028 and that his proposed changes would extend Medicare's solvency beyond 2050. He calls on Republicans in Congress to prioritize the American people.

The proposed budget is just a start

While Biden's budget includes recommendations that could save Medicare, it's just a starting point. Now that Biden has outlined his budget wish list, it's up to Congress to negotiate. With a Republican-led house, it's unlikely that Congress will agree to the current proposed terms. But if some parts of the budget pass, it could help more Americans keep more money in their checking accounts, and give them confidence in the Medicare program going forward.

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