In the early 2000s it was common for groups of seniors in Michigan to travel to Canada by bus to buy cheaper prescription drugs. Church groups, community groups, and senior citizen groups routinely organized these trips to help people buy their prescription drugs. Prescription drug prices are the highest in the world. Across the board, all prescription drugs in the U.S. are higher than in any other country. There is no dispute from any American that prescription drug prices are high, even if an individual has a health insurance plan that covers all or part of their prescription process.
Plans to combat rising prescription drug prices
Combating rising prescription drug prices are an issue that has wide support among the American public. This past summer, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, running for U.S. President in 2020, traveled with a group of seniors to Canada to buy insulin, to build support for various proposals for lowering prescription drug prices in the U.S. The Trump Administration is working on a plan to import certain prescription drugs from Canada directly. A bill making its way through the U.S. House of Representatives is seeking to allow Medicare to negotiate down drug prices.
How people pay for prescription drugs
Most Americans have some form of medical insurance. While there are still a vast number of Americans without any form of medical insurance, under the Affordable Care Act, many people have some assistance with medical care costs and prescription drug costs. Individuals with private health insurance plans, usually through an employer or retirement pension plan, may have annual deductibles or out of pocket costs, in addition to the monthly deduction for health insurance.
Many seniors have Medicare. In 2006 when the Medicare benefit expansion occurred, seniors received prescription drug benefits as part of their health insurance. Despite the new benefit, Part D Medicare prescription drug benefit has narrowed as a result of the 2010 Affordable Care Act and is set to go away completely in 2020.
No matter the income bracket, political affiliation, and health status, many Americans agree that prescription drug prices are too high and monthly people with high prescription drug costs are constantly looking for ways to reduce their prescription drug bill or shop for more affordable solutions, like taking a bus to Canada to fill prescriptions.