Log in

Anuzis: Biden plans costing seniors more


When President Joe Biden took office, he embarked on a multi-trillion-dollar spending spree. It contributed mightily to an inflation spike of 9.1% in June 2022, the highest rate in more than 40 years.

In response, the Biden administration hit the panic button, only to come up with an even worse solution: Another multi-trillion-dollar spending spree. This time, the president rebranded a bloated package of bills that Democrats had already been struggling to pass, christening it the “Inflation Reduction Act.”

That wishful name certainly didn’t stop inflation, which is headed upward again this year. What it did do is deliver a slew of economically illiterate Democratic priorities, including several that were sold to the public as ways to lower health care costs for patients.

But the real-world impacts of the now 2-year-old law tell a different story.

Case in point: monthly premiums for Medicare Part D. Part D is the insurance program that provides prescription drug coverage to more than 50 million older Americans. The IRA made structural changes to Part D that have caused premiums to skyrocket. These massive price hikes are likely to cancel out much — if not all — of the “savings” seniors were promised.

Seniors have seen a 21% increase, on average, in premiums for standalone prescription drug plans in 2024. And at three major Medicare insurance providers — Cigna, Humana, and Aetna — premiums have gone up by 33% to 57% in a single year. It would certainly upset family finances if the cost of groceries or gasoline went up that much in just 12 months, and health insurance is no different.

Worse, in 2025, Medicare premiums will almost certainly get even more expensive as the administration’s new policies take full effect.

One analysis projects a staggering increase of nearly 50% next year.
This kind of hit to household budgets would be hard to bear at any time, but this moment is especially inopportune. Older people have watched their savings accounts shrink in value after multiple years of inflation. And many live on fixed incomes, so they’re among the hardest hit by the rising cost of living. It’s no wonder that high monthly premiums are among enrollees’ top complaints about

Medicare, along with cost-sharing requirements for doctor visits and other medical charges.

The tragic irony of the IRA “reforms” is that aside from concerns about price, Medicare patients are generally satisfied with the program. They enjoy having the flexibility to choose among a variety of Part D plans. But the number of standalone plans has fallen to an all-time low, which means some seniors will struggle to find one that fits their needs and offers an affordable premium. In short, through bad policy and deceptive rhetoric, Democrats are making Medicare less popular and more expensive.

Clearly, Biden’s strategy for lowering healthcare costs isn’t working. His administration should rip it up and start again.

Saul Anuzis is president of 60 Plus, the American Association of Senior Citizens. He wrote this for InsideSources.com. Reader reactions, pro or con, are welcomed at AzOpinions@iniusa.org.