July 06, 2016
Partnership Praises Bipartisan Letter Urging Maintenance of Six Protected Classes Policy
The Partnership for Part D Access, a broad-based coalition of health care stakeholders dedicated to preserving access to the full range of medications available under Medicare Part D, today applauded the bipartisan pair of Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for their letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) urging the agency to maintain existing policy requiring Medicare prescription drug plans to carry six categories of specialized drugs for all participating beneficiaries. The letter, addressed to CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt, outlined the senators’ “serious concerns” with the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission’s (MedPAC) recent proposal to remove two drug classes from the six currently protected, and recommended that CMS maintain the six protected classes policy “regardless of potential savings.”
July 05, 2016
Senators Grassley, Brown Urge CMS to Maintian 'Six Protected Classes' Policy
Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio are urging the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to maintain current policy requiring that Medicare prescription drug plans carry six categories of prescription drugs offered to participating beneficiaries. Grassley and Brown are the sponsors of legislation requiring the maintenance of the “six protected classes.” The agency earlier tried to limit the categories by regulation, then dropped its plans after public outcry. Grassley and Brown are concerned that CMS might try again.
June 15, 2016
Patient Stakeholders Oppose MedPAC Recommendation to Undermine Medicare’s ‘Protected Classes’
The Partnership for Part D Access issued a press release today immediately following the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission's (MedPAC) release of their June Report to Congress. The statement addresses the report’s proposal to reduce access to drugs currently protected under the six ‘protected classes’ policy. A number of patient stakeholders came out against the recommendations. For example, Director of Federal Legislative Advocacy for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Andrew Sperling wrote, “This is a program that has proven time and again that it keeps patients healthy so they don’t have to turn to costly hospital stays for care. For those with mental health issues, Part D provides access to the specific life-saving medications that their doctors prescribe. This is vital to our most vulnerable citizens because it gives them the ability to live healthy lives.”
April 07, 2016
Senator Gordon Smith (OR) Pens Op-Ed on Six Protected Classes
In response to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission's (MedPAC) recommendation to remove two protected classes from Medicare Part D, former Senator Gordon Smith (OR), key architect of the Part D program, expressed opposition to the recommendation in the Morning Consult today. "In the decade since, Part D has proven to be an unqualified success, providing access to lifesaving innovations and coming in considerably under budget," he said. "Unfortunately, however, some in government just can’t let a good thing be, and despite the great strengths of the program and its unquestioned benefit to seniors, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) is threatening to undermine the program by stripping away vital patient protections provided by Part D’s “Six Protected Classes” policy, with potentially devastating consequences for Medicare beneficiaries."
April 07, 2016
Partnership for Part D Access Opposes MedPAC Recommendation to Rescind Patient Access to Medicare Part D Protected Classes
Washington, D.C. – A broad-based and diverse group of patient organizations and health care stakeholders today announced its opposition to a recommendation approved today by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) that would remove two classes of drugs from the six protected classes under current law. The proposed changes would restrict access to immunosuppressants and antidepressants, and violate the long-held, congressionally-supported protections for patients with conditions requiring therapies in the following six classes: anticonvulsants, antidepressants, antineoplastic, antipsychotics, antiretrovirals, and immunosuppressants.