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What We're Reading: Fact Checking Medicare-for-All Savings; PBMs and Drug Prices; Immigrants and Health Costs

AJMC Staff
Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, has claimed his Medicare-for-all plan will cut healthcare spending by $2 trillion, but fact checking shows that's unlikely; CVS' CEO defends its pharmacy benefit manager against claims rebates are driving up drug prices; researchers have found that immigrants have healthcare costs that are half to two-thirds of the costs of people born in the United States.

Fact Checking Sanders’ Medicare-for-All Claims

Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, has made big claims about the savings Americans will enjoy under his Medicare-for-all plan, but he might be overlooking some facts. The Associated Press fact checked Sanders’ claims and noted that his claim that the plan will cut $2 trillion from the country’s healthcare bill is reliant on a scenario of significantly lower payments to hospitals and doctors for most patients. The reality is that if providers are paid the same under the plan, spending would increase by more than $3 trillion.

 

CVS CEO Defends Against Drug Cost Blame

The Trump administration has criticized high drug prices and rebates paid to pharmacy benefit managers like Caremark, owned by CVS Health, for driving up prices. Larry Merlo, the CEO of CVS, is defending against the blame, noting that prices of drugs with smaller rebates are actually rising the fastest, reported The Wall Street Journal. Merlo said that 98% of the tens of billions of dollars his company has generated through rebates are passed through to clients—insurers, companies, and groups that pay for medicines.

 

Immigrants Have Lower Healthcare Costs Than Those Born in America

Researchers from Harvard Medical School and Tufts University have found that immigrants have healthcare costs that are half to two-thirds of the costs of people born in the United States. According to The Hill, immigrants make up 12% of the population, but they account for only 8.6% of the country’s healthcare spending. Undocumented immigrants, who make up 5% of the population, account for only 1.4% of total spending.

 
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