March 10, 2014
Partnership for Part D Access Applauds CMS for Rescinding its Proposal to Eliminate Six Protected Classes
The Partnership for Part D Access today applauded the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on its decision not to finalize its proposed rule to eliminate protected class status for several categories of drugs under Medicare Part D “at this time.”
“We are thrilled that CMS has listened to the loud chorus of support for maintaining beneficiary access to the life-saving drugs provided under Medicare Part D,” said Chuck Ingoglia, Senior Vice President of the National Council for Behavioral Health, which is spearheading the Partnership for Part D Access. “Although we need to remain vigilant on this issue, we commend today’s action by CMS will allow millions of seniors to continue to confidently rely upon Medicare to provide them the drugs they need.”
The CMS decision comes on the heels of a February 5 letter to CMS, in which every member of the Senate Finance Committee expressed opposition to the proposed CMS changes to the protected classes policy. On March 3, a bipartisan group of 50 members of the House Energy & Commerce and Ways & Means committees sent a similar letter to CMS requesting that they reject the Administration’s suggested changes to the Part D program concerning the six protected classes policy and withdraw the proposal.
Since its inception in 2008, Medicare Part D has been effective at both improving health outcomes and lowering costs for patients. Despite the success of the program, in January, CMS published a proposed rule that would change the agency’s current policy requiring Medicare Part D plans to include on the formularies “all or substantially all” of six protected classes of medication. The proposed changes would have restricted access to antidepressants and immunosuppressants in 2015, and antipsychotics in 2016, from the list of protected classes.
About the Partnership for Part D Access
The Partnership for Part D Access is a coalition of leading national patient groups, pharmaceutical industry participants and other advocates committed to maintaining open access to all available medications under Medicare Part D. The coalition has come together to urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to withdraw its proposed rule to reduce the number of “protected classes” of medication in Medicare Part D. In addition to raising awareness of how the proposed rule will jeopardize the health of some of our nation’s most vulnerable patients, the Partnership for Part D Access also aims to mobilize patients and concerned citizens by providing a means for them to speak out against the proposed rule. For more information and a full list of members, visit www.partdpartnership.org.