There are proposed changes to Medicare Part D that have come under fire from groups ranging from drug providers to physicians to patient advocacy groups.
It began with a proposal put forth by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services with regard to private insurance coverage for certain drugs as well as changing up the network of physicians available to patients under Part D Medicare.
One major concern is that adjustments to Medicare Part D will result in patients being unable to get much needed medication because they are no longer covered. Others fear that the changes will lead to a severe reduction in available medication and quality physician care.
According to the testimony of Medicare chief Jonathan Blum, the adjustments are a necessary measure to head off even higher costs in the future brought on by expensive new biological treatments and rising insurance premiums. At the same time Blum insists that seniors will not be cut off from essential medication.
So long, Medicare Part D: '50% of the plans offered today will be gone' http://t.co/23xMi2d1oo
— Patrick Howley (@PatrickHowleyDC) March 3, 2014
Lots of buzz in DC about how well Medicare Part D works. Not @CMSGov oversight of fraud, @OIGatHHS says. http://t.co/9KIQPNqTHX
— Charles Ornstein (@charlesornstein) March 4, 2014
“In order for Part D to remain successful, we have to celebrate its successes and address its vulnerabilities,” said Blum when he spoke before the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee.
The proposal remains terribly unpopular and has been a major source of political controversy. What’s happening with Part D coverage has been a topic of major discussion ahead of 2014 elections. Republicans are claiming that Part D changes will throw off the entire system and leave seniors in jeopardy. The fear of loss of coverage could play a part deciding which party controls Congress after fall elections.
Blum maintains that there will be no cataclysmic losses resulting from the proposed changes to Medicare Part D.
“Once the requirement to cover all drugs in a class was removed, we would expect manufactures to negotiate for their products to remain on [as many plans as possible],” said Blum.
He believes that the adjustments will in fact lower prices through market driven competition.
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