The Wall Street Journal: Federal spending on Medicare specialty coverage soars as drug costs rise

Federal spending on a Medicare program for people with high drug costs has ballooned over the past five years, largely due to the soaring costs of expensive specialty medications, a new government report has found.

Federal payments for Medicare Part D catastrophic coverage, which pays 80% of drug costs after a beneficiary has spent a certain amount annually, surpassed $33 billion in 2015, more than triple the amount paid in 2010.

The report, released early Thursday morning by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Inspector General, an in-house watchdog, found that most of the rise is due to increased spending on drugs that cost $1,000 or more a month, several of which came on the market in the last couple of years.

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