February 28,2014

Press Contact:

Ken Willis (Wyden): (202) 224-0340

Julia Lawless (Hatch): (202) 224-4515

Finance Committee Members Express Bipartisan Concerns Over Proposed Medicare Rule

Urge CMS to Ensure Drug Coverage Stays Accessible, Comprehensive and Affordable

WASHINGTON – In a letter today, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, were joined by 18 colleagues in urging Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner to reconsider changes proposed for the Medicare Part D prescription-drug program.

“The Medicare prescription drug program – strengthened by the Affordable Care Act – is working for seniors.  While this new Medicare proposal provides additional tools to prevent fraud and abuse among drug prescribers, the uncertainty and potential disruption is too great to ignore,” Wyden said. “The Administration should press pause and redouble efforts to guarantee seniors’ drug coverage remains accessible, comprehensive and affordable.”

“Given its impact on seniors, what CMS has proposed for Medicare’s prescription drug program needs to be fully reconsidered,” said Hatch. “I’m pleased so many of my colleagues joined us in supporting this effort and look forward to working with CMS on a more prudent path forward.”

Last month, the administration proposed wide-ranging changes to the Medicare Part D prescription-drug program which provides affordable access to necessary prescription drugs for over 36 million Medicare beneficiaries, including eleven million seniors who lacked comprehensive coverage prior to the program’s construction.

The letter was also signed by John D. Rockefeller, D-W.V., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Bill Nelson, D-Fla., Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., Thomas Carper, D-Del., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Michael Bennet, D-Colo., John Thune, R-S.D., Robert Casey, D-Penn., Richard Burr, R-N.C., Mark Warner, D-Va., Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Patrick Toomey, R-Penn.

The letter may be downloaded here.