March 10, 2014
Ken Willis (Wyden) (202) 224-0340
Julia Lawless (Hatch) (202) 224-4515
Wyden, Hatch Welcome CMS Decision to Rollback Changes to Medicare Prescription Drug Program
WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, welcomed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner decision to rollback its plans to overhaul the Medicare prescription drug program.
“This is good news and shows that the administration shares our concerns about potential disruptions for seniors enrolled in the Medicare prescription drug program,” Wyden said. “By safeguarding beneficiary protections and choice, the guarantee that seniors’ drug coverage is accessible, comprehensive and affordable remains in place. I am also pleased by the acknowledgement of the need to reengage with seniors, insurers and other stakeholders before any policy changes.”
“After Republicans and Democrats raised significant concerns, the Obama Administration did the right thing by undoing the majority of what it proposed to the highly successful Medicare Part D program,” said Hatch. “The next step is revisiting the severe cuts to the Medicare Advantage program, which undermine quality health care delivered through the private market to millions on seniors on Medicare. I hope the Administration continues to walk away from policies it has previously supported that undercut successful programs that help seniors lead healthier lives.”
In January, CMS issued a 700-page proposed regulation that would significantly alter the Medicare Part D prescription drug program, which currently has a nearly 90 percent approval rating among beneficiaries.
Concerned with the adverse impact the proposed regulations would have on seniors enrolled in the successful prescription drug program, 20 Senate Finance Committee members, led by Wyden and Hatch, wrote to Tavenner last month to urge the agency to reconsider proposed regulations to the Medicare Part D prescription drug program.
Today, CMS announced it would shelve some of the plans to overhaul the Part D program, including its proposed changes to protected classes, pharmacy networks, plan limitations and noninterference language. CMS will continue to move forward with its efforts to prevent fraud and abuse among drug prescribers and strengthen beneficiary protections.