Recently, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma sent a letter to several Members of Congress in response to their concerns about proposed changes to Medicare’s six protected classes. This fact sheet includes key substantive excerpts, each of which are followed by important facts and policy details that policymakers should be aware of.
A key group of Democrats on the influential Energy & Commerce and Ways & Means Committees — which share jurisdiction over health policy — have sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar urging the Department to withdraw a proposal to weaken Medicare's protected classes policy. The letter, led by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), explains that "the proposed changes to the six protected classes will result in negative outcomes for specific beneficiary populations that utilize drugs under these six classes." The Members go on to emphasize that "with a 91 percent overall generic utilization rate and only one percent of the more than 187 million prescriptions filled coming from specialty tier medications, we strongly believe this policy is working as currently implemented and should not be changed."
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