Amid heightened public concern, the cost of prescription drugs is the focus of renewed attention by the Trump administration, the Biden campaign and lawmakers in Congress and state capitals. Proposed actions range from sweeping health care system changes to targeted initiatives that could affect Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. See KFF’s research, analysis and public opinion data, as well as Kaiser Health News’ journalism, related to prescription drugs and their costs.

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How Does Prescription Drug Spending and Use Compare Across Large Employer Plans, Medicare Part D, and Medicaid?

Prescription drug costs are a pressing concern for both consumers and policymakers. This analysis compares prescription drug spending and use in large private employer plans, Medicare Part D, and Medicaid, based primarily on claims data by payer, which does not account for rebates.

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Health Issues and the Election Quiz

Test your knowledge about health facts, policy issues and proposals that are emerging among the 2020 presidential candidates. The 10 questions focus on health issues in the 2020 election, including: health care costs, prescription drug prices, the Affordable Care Act and changes in health insurance coverage, reproductive health, and Medicare-for-all and public option proposals.

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Visualizing Health Policy: US Statistics on Surprise Medical Billing

This Visualizing Health Policy infographic looks at the experience of unexpected or “surprise” medical bills in the United States. Out-of-network charges typically expose individuals to higher cost-sharing when they use services, and may lead to balance billing – in which providers bill patients directly, and often unexpectedly, at a higher…

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List Prices Increased As Much As 9 Times Faster Than Inflation for 20 of the Top 25 Part D Drugs, Suggesting Potential for Savings Under Proposed Inflation Rebate Policies

A new KFF analysis finds that the list prices for most of the top Medicare Part D drugs by total spending increased as much as nine times the rate of inflation (1.7%) between 2016 and 2017, suggesting recent Congressional proposals targeting such increases could generate savings for Medicare and Part…

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Medicare Beneficiaries Spent an Average of $5,460 Out-of-Pocket for Health Care in 2016, With Some Groups Spending Substantially More 

The average person with traditional Medicare coverage paid $5,460 out of their own pocket for health care in 2016, according to a new KFF analysis and interactive tool. This $5,460 includes about $1,000 in out-of-pocket spending for long-term care facility services, averaged across all traditional Medicare beneficiaries.  Such services are…

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Pricing and Payment for Medicaid Prescription Drugs

Attention to high list prices continues at both the state and federal levels with a number of policy proposals aimed at lowering drug prices and there is renewed interest in drug prices and reimbursement within Medicaid. Changes made in 2016 to federal rules governing how state Medicaid programs pay for drugs aimed to make the prices paid more accurate, but increased reliance on pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) pose challenges to drug price transparency. This brief explains Medicaid prescription drug prices to help policymakers and others understand Medicaid’s role in drug pricing and any potential consequences of policy changes for the program.

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A Look at Recent Proposals to Control Drug Spending by Medicare and its Beneficiaries

In response to higher drug spending growth and heightened attention to drug prices, policymakers have proposed a variety of policy initiatives to lower the cost of prescription drugs in Medicare. This brief examines in detail the range of proposals offered by the Trump Administration and members of Congress for lowering the cost of prescription drugs, their known effects on the federal budget, and their potential implications for beneficiaries and other stakeholders.

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Explainer Video Breaks Down Prescription Drug Rebates and Why They Matter in the Debate About Prescription Drug Costs

A new KFF animation explains how rebates for prescription drugs work, including how they are determined, who benefits from them, how they affect spending by insurers and consumers and the role of pharmacy benefit managers in the process. The Trump Administration had proposed banning such rebates in Medicare Part D,…

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KFF Health Tracking Poll – February 2019: Prescription Drugs

With increased national attention towards prescription drug costs, this poll examines the public’s experiences with prescription medicine and their views on current policy proposals brought forth by congressional lawmakers and the Trump administration, including international reference pricing, transparency in drug advertisements, and negotiations with drug companies. The survey also dives into the attitudes and experiences of adults, 65 and older – a group that is more likely to report taking prescription medication and shopped for prescription drug coverage.

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