On this episode of the podcast, the finale of Season 2, Terry and Bob discuss the health political outlook for 2022. For the chronic disease community, 2022 is set to be a major year of health policy. Republican and Democrat political experts weigh in on what’s on the horizon for healthcare policies in the new year.
Matt Rodriguez, a Democrat Party political strategist, and Doug Badger, a conservative public policy expert at the Heritage Foundation, share their insights on the politics of healthcare. The roundtable conversation dives into drug price setting in Build Back Better, insulin price caps, Covid-19 response, and how healthcare issues will shape the 2022 midterm elections.
Doug explains how general inflation was 6.8 percent over the last year, yet drug prices actually bucked this trend, falling by 0.3 percent. Drug prices are actually below their 2017 levels. We constantly hear about headline drug prices, but when you look at them across the board, including generics, they are one area of the economy where prices have remained relatively flat.
Terry highlights dueling reports on drug pricing. Matt discusses how gross charges of drug prices are misleading and how Democrats have been talking about this issue for a long time but haven’t delivered on it. Terry notes how Democrats don’t want to tackle PBM rebates because they need the revenue to fund their broader social agenda. They note how Medicare Part D prices are actually lower than projected and argue if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Doug explains how drug price “negotiation” is just a euphemism for less access for those who need it most.
When it comes to Covid, they highlight the government has spent nearly $10 trillion and hasn’t really helped overcome Covid. For instance, tests are still tough to get and relatively expensive. More money won’t solve these institutional problems. Mission creep and bureaucracy hurt public health’s effectiveness. They note how Biden campaigned on improving Covid and needs to show progress on this issue.
Matt argues that Democrats should talk about everyday issues, including mental health problems, instead of getting bogged down in health prices. Doug talks about the frustration among Americans about the lingering pandemic as well as the looming issue of Medicare insolvency. Terry talks about the big picture issues facing patients in 2022.