Biden’s Alzheimer’s Lapse – WSJ



President Biden on Tuesday claimed credit for a modest decline in Medicare premiums, but he forgot to mention the reason: His Administration is rationing a novel Alzheimer’s drug.

“This year, the American people won, and Big Pharma lost,” the President said in a speech in which he accused Republicans of seeking to gut entitlements and flogged Medicare drug price controls that Democrats are using to pay for $369 billion in new climate spending. But Democrats are the party slashing Medicare via cost rationing.

He continued: “This morning, we got more even good news about lowering costs. The Department of Health and Human Services announced that the premium for Part B will, in fact, decrease this [upcoming] year,” adding that “for years, that fee has gone up. Now, for the first time in more than a decade, it’s going to go down.”

Mr. Biden wants Americans to believe that drug price controls are reducing premiums. But here’s the deal: His Administration increased Part B premiums by 14.5% this year and blamed the increase on expected high demand for

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Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm, which the Food and Drug Administration approved last summer.

But his Administration this spring restricted access to the drug because of its high price (originally $56,000) and messy trial data. Only patients who enroll in a randomized controlled trial can receive the drug, the first time the government has limited Medicare drug coverage in this way.

As a result, seniors by and large haven’t been able to take advantage of Aduhelm and have therefore overpaid for their Medicare Part B premiums this year. HHS is now doing a correction and reducing premiums by 3%. But the standard monthly Medicare premium next year will still be $16 higher than in 2021.

The Democratic Medicare price controls will result in fewer innovative treatments. Biogen on Tuesday announced promising trial results for another Alzheimer’s drug. Let’s hope the Biden Administration doesn’t ration that too.

Journal Editorial Report: Democrats have turned the emergency into a policy opportunity. Image: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

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Appeared in the September 29, 2022, print edition.

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