July 14, 2016
Bloomberg BNA: Protecting Medicare’s Protected Classes: Chapter Two
Remember the fireworks that exploded in 2014 when Medicare proposed to remove three of six categories from the Part D drug benefit’s protected classes?
July 07, 2016
Bloomberg BNA: Senators Urge CMS to Keep Six Protected Classes in Drug Benefit
An article in Bloomberg BNA highlights a recent letter from Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Servcies to maintain the current "six protected classes" policy requring Part D plans to provide the full range of treatment options to especially vulnerable patients with certain medical conditions. “Despite Part D’s success and the effectiveness of the six protected classes policy, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) report released earlier this month included a recommendation to make changes to this popular policy,” Grassley and Brown wrote to acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt in a June 30 letter. The bipartisan letter was in response to Part D recommendations in MedPAC's June report to Congress that would permit drug plans to remove antidepressants and immunosuppressants for transplant rejection from protected classes requirements.
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.”