Al Franken Continues to Deliver MLR Checks to Minnesotans While Trump Cards Are Rejected

On Friday when my email box received a note from Minnesota’s First District Congressman Jim Hagedorn informing voters that he “will keep fighting for the implementation of my #OnePillOnePrice policy to lower the cost of insulin and other prescription drugs”, I also received two pieces of real USPS mail with some Good News and some Bad News.

First, the Good News …. thanks to former Senator Al Franken, Medica sent a check for the company not achieving the Medical Loss Ratio requirement that Senator Franken included in the Affordable Care Act.  For those that do not know, ObamaCare requires insurance companies to spend at least 80% of your premium on actual care … in 2019, Medica only spent 75.6% of premium dollars collect in Minnesota on health care services.  This feature is at risk of being terminated if Donald Trump and Jim Hagedorn win their Supreme Court case to declare ObamaCare unconstitutional.

(An aside, in 2020, our healthcare insurance is now through Blue Cross Blue Shield … and my agent has already informed me to expect a rebate check later this year to compensate for not experiencing the expected amount of claims that BCBS anticipated when it set their 2020 rates.) Why would anyone want to repeal this consumer protection … but that is what Donald Trump and Jim Hagedorn advocate doing.

Let’s also remember that if the Supreme Court does rule against the Affordable Care Act, many of the benefits will also be gone. Take for example, you seasonal flu shot … covered under ObamaCare as an essential service … but without the ACA, it would be available for purchase on the open market at market prices … Flucelvax Quadrivalent would cost $25.76 per shot. How many people will decline to get a flu shot because of the cost and then get the flu and increase the transmission to others.

Now, the Bad News … my family’s cost for prescription drugs is going up in 2021 almost 11%.  For those that do not know, when President Bush signed the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, it created an prescription drug benefit … while stating Part D was “optional”, it also included a provision that if you did not agree to sign-up when you were first eligible, the rate would be increased to catch-up if you every wanted to join the program.  While, I do not take any prescription drugs now, the cost of buying them outside of the program is staggering … so most people just agree from day one … so this year, my premium cost will go up even though I hope to never have to take a prescription.

It’s the Bad News that should be troubling … an 10.9% increase is a lot … especially when we have all heard the Re-Elect Trump commercials telling us how he “will massively reduce the prices of prescription drugs, in many cases by more than 50%.”

Another Trump promise made, another Trump promise failure.

What makes it worse is that the news reports that President Trump wanted the pharmaceutical industry to send $100 prepaid cards to seniors was the deal breaker :

“That was the branding some participants in drug-price negotiations between the pharmaceutical industry and the Trump administration reportedly slapped on the prepaid cards that President Donald Trump’s team insisted the drug companies send to U.S. seniors as part of an agreement.”

Ah yes, just another example of Trump self-promotion … considering that the Treasury Department’s had to put President Trump’s name on the coronavirus stimulus checks, this story is totally believable.  Why would the industry balk at this … could it be that they read the stories of $1.4 Billion in coronavirus stimulus payments went to 1 million dead people ?

Actually, the objective is still good … and the House passed a bill that would established a Fair Price Negotiation Programd to negotiate with drug manufactures in order to obtain a maximum fair price (MFP) for certain selected drugs. The bill was authored by Minnesota’s Second District Congresswoman Angie Craig and passed with bipartisan support … alas, “Representative” Hagedorn voted NO on H.R.1425 – Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act … that is something that insulin users were probably talking to him about. 

Congressman Hagedorn also voted against H. R. 3  Lower Drug Costs Now Act which also passed in a Bipartisan vote.

In fact, review the number of legislative proposals targeting the price of insulin, Congressman Hagedorn’s name is absent.

H R 366 Insulin Access for All Act of 2019
H R 1478 Affordable Insulin Act of 2019

H R 4010 Emergency Access to Insulin Act of 2019

H R 4244 “Market Access for Generic Insulin Competition” or the “MAGIC Act”

H R 4906 Insulin Price Reduction Act
H R 5364 End Price Gouging for Insulin Act
H R 5444 Lower Insulin Costs Now Act
H R 5501 Affordable Drug Manufacturing Act of 2019
H R 5691 Insulin Affordability Data Collection Act
H R 5749 Affordable Insulin for All Act

While other Members of Congress seem to be able offer solutions, Jim Hagedorn just offers “to keep fighting” for his “policy” rather than offering any legislation.

No wonder that President Trump has endorsed Jim Hagedorn … he can recognize a flim-flam man … a con artist … a scam artist … a hustler.

No wonder that the Pharmaceutical Industry named Jim Hagedorn a “Champion”