What We’re Reading: Estimating Medicare Drug Savings; Extra SNAP Benefits to End; Pharmacies Cut Hours

A new study estimated Medicare drug price negotiation savings; food benefits provided under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will return to prepandemic amounts; pharmacies reduce hours to cope with staffing shortages, improve work-life balance.

Medicare Drug Price Negotiations to Begin in 2026

A recent study published in JAMA Health Forum found that the Medicare drug negotiation provision included as part of the Inflation Reduction Act would have saved the US $26.5 billion, 5% of all drug spending, from 2018 to 2020, had it already been in effect. Researchers identified 40 drugs, most covered under Part D, but some from Part B, NBC News reported. Beginning in 2026, Medicare will begin negotiating drug prices for the federal government’s 10 costliest drugs.

SNAP Benefits to Return to Prepandemic Amounts in February

After 3 years, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service announced that it will be reducing its food assistance benefits back to pre-COVID amounts beginning in February, according to AXIOS. More than 41 million Americans used Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in 2022. Emergency allotments allowing households to receive an additional $95 in SNAP benefits have already ended in 17 states.

Big Pharmacies and Walmart Reduce Hours Due to Understaffing

Pharmacies CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart plan to reduce hours and raise pay to promote a better work-life balance amid staffing shortages, according to CBS News. CVS, the largest pharmacy chain in the US by revenue, announced that come spring, roughly two-thirds of the company’s approximately 9000 retail stores will adjust hours as part of a review to ensure that the store is operating during peak customer demand. Both Walmart and Walgreens also plan on adjusting hours and paying higher wages to its employees.

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