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House Stopgap Caps Medicare Premium Hikes

House Democrats want to limit any increase in Medicare premiums to about $4 per month, saying decisions by President Donald Trump‘s administration could mean premium rates rise by much more next year.

The stopgap spending bill (H.R. 8319) that House Democrats released yesterday includes a provision limiting 2021 Part B premium increases. House leaders plan to vote on the measure today.

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A senior Democratic aide said the roughly $4 cap is needed because premiums could otherwise be slated for a bigger increase after the Trump administration issued billions of dollars in Medicare advance loans to providers but hasn’t yet recouped the money or used emergency funds Congress appropriated to help providers affected by pandemic-related shutdowns.

The provision mimics one Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) championed in a coronavirus-related aid package that Republicans in the Senate unveiled in July. That bill would have frozen Medicare premiums at 2020 levels and forced beneficiaries to pay a $3 a month surcharge to recoup budget shortfalls for the program.

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