Richtman Interview – Podcast July 26, 2021

The Impact Of Biden’s Spending Plan On Medicare And Social Security. Democratic Perspective co-host Steve Williamson welcomes back frequent guest Max Richtman, President and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, to discuss the proposed $3.5 trillion spending plan for human infrastructure.

“The impact on Medicare is huge,” says Richtman. “If this actually happens…it would be the first major expansion of Medicare benefits in nearly 20 years. Now we have an opportunity to add hearing, dental and vision to the program. These are such important components of healthcare that have been neglected over the years.”

Richtman also hopes the bill will include a provision that mandates the federal government negotiate drug prices – an idea supported by 70 -80 percent of voters across party lines. He explains that would save Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries $450 billion over 10 years. But Richtman says that is certain to be opposed by Big Pharma. “The argument that pharmaceutical companies use is that this is socialism. But I thought that negotiating for the best price for anything…to me that’s capitalism.”

Their other argument is that negotiating prices would limit Big Pharma’s ability to do research. But Richtman counters that a lot of the research money that goes into developing drugs comes from the federal government. “I have seen analysis of how much pharmaceutical companies spend on lobbying…tens of millions of dollars. They’re putting money into stock buybacks. They’re putting it into enormous salaries for chief executives…and ads. It’s a phony argument. It’s designed to scare people.”

Richtman notes that the budget proposals do not specifically deal with Social Security. But he says he’s confident that we have a President who has made a commitment to improve Social Security.

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