Patient Advocates Applaud Biden Administration for Maintaining Medicare's Six Protected Classes Policy
Washington D.C. — The Partnership for Part D Access, a broad-based coalition of health care stakeholders including diverse patient advocacy organizations that represent patients who benefit from treatments covered under each of Medicare’s “six protected classes,” commended the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for rejecting a proposal that would have substantially weakened Medicare’s six protected classes policy.
Medicines in the six protected classes treat serious health conditions that impact the most vulnerable beneficiaries — the frail, disabled or those with multiple chronic conditions. For these individuals, many medicines are not interchangeable. Seemingly similar patients often respond differently to the same drug: while one patient may respond well, a similar patient will have a suboptimal response, or worse. Further, drugs in the same class often have different side effects, and patients are sometimes better suited to one particular drug over another. The six protected classes policy gives doctors the ability to prescribe the right drug for the patients in their care.
“Medicare beneficiaries with the most complex, chronic conditions are breathing a sigh of relief,” said Chuck Ingoglia, President and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health, who serves as Executive Director of the Partnership for Part D Access. “The Biden administration’s decision demonstrates the need to maintain the six protected classes policy as an essential patient safeguard in Medicare Part D.”
As detailed in a CMS’ announcement, this decision was “based on stakeholder feedback and other considerations.” Notably, stakeholder feedback on the proposal included the following outreach from bipartisan Members of Congress, diverse patient advocacy groups, and others:
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