Partnership Applauds House Appropriations Committee for Report Expressing Concerns on ‘Six Protected Classes’
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 7, 2019
Contact: Shea McCarthy
Washington D.C. — The Partnership for Part D Access, a broad-based coalition of health care stakeholders including over 20 diverse patient advocacy organizations, applauded the House Appropriations Committee for their report on the fiscal year (FY) 2020 Labor-HHS-Education spending measure, which raises concerns with a proposal from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to weaken Medicare’s six protected classes policy.
As detailed on pg. 134, the Committee report specifically states the following:
Protected Classes.—The Committee is concerned by the recent proposed rule, ‘‘Modernizing Part D and Medicare Advantage to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Expenses.’’ Shortly after Congress enacted the Medicare Part D program, CMS required all Part D plans to have adequate coverage for six therapeutic categories of drugs, known as protected classes, to ensure patients have timely access to critical therapies combating HIV, cancer, mental health conditions, and other serious illnesses. The provisions of this proposed rule would allow increased use of prior authorizations and step therapy requirements and potentially delay access to these therapies.
“The Partnership applauds Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro and Full Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey on their commitment to protecting Medicare’s most vulnerable beneficiaries,” said Chuck Ingoglia, Sr. Vice President of Public Policy and Practice Improvement at the National Council for Behavioral Health, who serves as Executive Director of the Partnership. “For many patients with complex and hard-to-treat conditions, it can be dangerous and expensive to disrupt an effective regimen of prescription medications. We look forward to working with the Committee to ensure that patients with the most complicated conditions have access to the medicines that work best for them.”