Special Report – Beating Biden’s Drug Plan

Voters worry about government interference in doctor-patient decisions and diverting money from Medicare to spend on other priorities.

“The doctor is closer to the patient…I have family members who work in the medical community, so they live it firsthand where a doctor’s opinion…is overruled by an administrator who has little to no medical background.”

(Mitch, 66, Independent White Male, North Carolina)

Exclusive polling and focus groups from America’s New Majority Project reveal deep concerns about the potential consequences of policies that would reduce Medicare spending on prescription drugs.  

WHY IT MATTERS – The White House will announce a list of 10 drugs it is targeting for Medicare drug price negotiations on August 29th.

  • The negotiation process gives the government enormous leverage, allowing it to offer the manufacturers a take-it-or-leave-it price.

WHERE THE PUBLIC STANDS – While public polling shows that the idea of Medicare drug price negotiation is superficially popular, our research reveals deep concerns once the potential consequences of the policy are known.

KEY TAKEAWAYS –
  • Proposals to reduce Medicare spending on prescription drugs – including price controls and repealing the noninterference clause – have mixed support.
  • The most effective arguments against giving the government more authority to reduce prescription drug spending in Medicare focus on:
    • The impact of lobbying and politics on drug coverage decisions.
    • Fewer patients receiving the medicines they need.
    • Money being taken from Medicare and spent elsewhere.
  • There is overwhelming agreement that any savings in Medicare should be kept in Medicare – and most believe that money should be used to improve benefits.
    • Independents in focus groups reacted negatively upon learning that the Inflation Reduction Act took savings from drug price negotiation out of Medicare to spend on green energy initiatives.
  • Americans believe Medicare spends much more on prescription drugs than it does. After learning drugs are only 12% of Medicare spending, while hospitals services are 40%, voters wonder why so much attention is paid to drug spending.

READ THE REPORT – Click on the image below to read the full report…or read the summary below.

Americans worry about the government becoming more involved in medical decisions and are suspicious of the government’s motives.

“I don’t trust the government making these decisions, and I sure do not trust big pharma.”

(Scotti, 40, Independent White Woman, Texas)
  • 40% favor proposals that would give the government new authority to reduce Medicare spending on prescription drugs. 33% oppose and 27% don’t know.
  • 65% say it is likely that these policies would lead to drug coverage decisions becoming more influenced by lobbying rather than doctor and patient decisions. 74% say this would be concerning.
  • 63% say it is likely that fewer patients would receive the medicines their doctors recommend because the government won’t pay for them. 75% say this would be concerning.
  • 59% say it is likely that savings in Medicare would be used to pay for other government programs instead of lowering what patients pay for medicines. 73% say this would be concerning.

Americans want savings found in Medicare to stay in Medicare – a principle the Inflation Reduction Act violated by diverting money from Medicare to green energy initiatives.

“The purpose of saving the money was for Medicare. If you don’t do that, then it just disappears.”

(Darlyn, 67, Independent White Woman, North Carolina)
  • 67% of Americans say any savings found in Medicare should be kept in Medicare rather than used to reduce the budget deficit or other priorities.
    • 59% of those who want the money to stay in Medicare say it should be used to improve benefits rather than improve the financial health of the program.
  • Older voters are more likely to say the money should be kept in Medicare, but even Gen Z voters have a plurality (47%) in favor of keeping Medicare savings in the program.

Americans are shocked to learn how little Medicare spends on prescription drugs relative to hospitals and physician services.

“Why are they so concerned about prescription drugs and not concerned about the high cost of anything related to hospitals?”

(Lisa, 57, Independent Black Woman, Arkansas)
  • A plurality (34%) of Americans incorrectly believe Medicare spends more on prescription drugs than on hospitals or physicians.
    • In fact, Medicare spends nearly 40% of its budget on hospital services, about 25% on physicians services, and only 12% of prescription drugs.
  • Focus group participants expressed surprise at learning the real percentages of spending and wondered why so much attention was paid to drug costs.

METHODOLOGY – The poll results in this report come from two surveys commissioned by America’s New Majority Project:

  • The Winston Group, June 29-July 2, 2023, 1,200 Registered Voters
  • McLaughlin and Associates, July 27-30, 2023, 2,000 Registered Voters

Focus groups with Independents were conducted by America’s New Majority Project on August 17 and 20, 2023.