Bipartisan Lawmakers Defend Medicare
|Targeted News Service|
Leaders on the
"The Administration has proposed drastic changes to the popular
"Sadly, this Administration continues to recklessly tamper with the healthcare that our seniors rely on," said Congressman
"The protected classes policy has proven to be an effective tool in enhancing patient access to quality care," said Congressman
"I have concerns about these significant changes in
Many patient advocate organizations weighed in with their support.
"The proposed CMS rule will decrease access to medication and jeopardize patient health, especially for those beneficiaries living with mental illness. We applaud these members of the
Dear Secretary Sebelius and Administrator Tavenner,
A critically important component of what has made Part D successful over the past eight years is the six protected classes policy. Created by CMS in 2005 through subregulatory guidance, and later codified by
For this reason, we are extremely troubled by the proposed rule CMS issued regarding
We also believe these policy changes will inextricably tie the hands of physicians who treat these individuals, many of whom have complex medical needs. For instance, limiting the type of immunosuppressants a physician can prescribe places a transplant patient at risk for organ rejection or other health complications. Similarly, hindering access to anti-depressants, and eventually anti-psychotics, may put someone with mental illness at greater risk for suicide and destabilization of their condition. These restrictions on appropriate access also impact persons with other challenging health conditions like cancer, HIV or epilepsy that have higher rates of depression as a comorbidity.
Furthermore, the proposed rule relies upon what is widely known to be ineffective exceptions, appeals, and grievance processes to ensure sick individuals enjoy timely access to necessary medications. Removal of protected status for the anti-psychotic, anti-depressant and immunosuppressant classes and allowing coverage of as few as two medications in these classes is certain to overwhelm an already overburdened process under Part D.
Finally, given the broad public support for increasing patient access to care, especially in the area of mental health, and recognizing further the significant challenges your Department faces in its efforts to implement healthcare reform, we are perplexed by your decision to move forward with such a proposal. Given the overwhelming evidence that all six classes of the current six protected classes policy are appropriate and necessary to ensure clinically necessary access to needed medications, we urge you to maintain this important policy and not finalize this proposed rule.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this critical matter. We look forward to your response.
TNS 30VitinMar-140306-4657076 30VitinMar
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