Nation’s Seniors Not Supportive of Giving Federal Government Greater Control of Medicare Drug Prices, Polling Shows

WASHINGTON – Proposals in Congress to give the federal government power to set prices for medications in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program are not getting an enthusiastic reception from program beneficiaries, according to a nationwide survey of Part D-enrolled seniors.

A survey of 1,000 seniors conducted by Morning Consult and released by the Medicare Today coalition found that 50 percent of Americans over 65 who are enrolled in Part D prescription drug plans would prefer to keep the current program as it is to prevent the federal government from deciding which drugs would be accessible.  Only 30 percent said they would change the law to give the government greater power over drug pricing.  The non-interference clause in the Part D program restricts federal involvement in drug pricing so that prices are determined through negotiations between Part D plans and drug manufacturers.

Even among self-identified Democrats, only 39 percent said they would reform the law to give the federal government pricing powers while an equal number said they would leave the program unchanged.  Overall, 85 percent of seniors said they would be concerned over changes to the Part D program that would allow the government to restrict access to medicines they use.

“What we see seniors saying is that the Part D program is making the medicines they need accessible and affordable, so why make radical changes to what is clearly working,” said Mary R. Grealy, chair of Medicare Today and president of the Healthcare Leadership Council. “The Congressional Budget Office has previously said that repealing the non-interference clause will only save money if Washington establishes a central, restrictive formulary. Seniors are adamant that this is what they don’t want.  They want their physicians, not federal bureaucrats, determining what medicines are best for them.”

The Morning Consult survey did show support among the nation’s seniors for some changes to the Part D program, including maximum limits on annual out-of-pocket costs and enabling those out-of-pocket costs to be spread out over the course of the year.

More findings from the survey can be found at