Reps Take A Stand Against Medicare Proposal They Say Would ‘Severely Harm’ Access

Juliegrace Brufke | Capitol Hill Reporter

A bipartisan group of lawmakers pushed back against the Obama administration’s proposed rule requiring Medicare providers to try an alternative drug payment model, saying it would hinder care for seniors with ailments including cancer and neurological disorders.

Congressmen expressed their concern about the alternative Medicare Part B drug payment model in a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt Monday. Republican Reps. [crscore]Tom Price[/crscore], [crscore]John Shimkus[/crscore] and Charles Boustany Jr. led the effort, but the letter was signed by dozens of members on both sides of the aisle.

The rule would impose cuts that will “severely harm patient access to needed drugs,” they wrote in the letter. “Under CMS’s Medicare drug experiment, numerous physicians would face acquisition costs that exceed the Medicare payment amount for certain drugs.”

Under CMS’s proposed rule, doctors would be pushed toward using “value-based pricing and clinical decision support tools” when prescribing prescription drugs. Critics of the proposal fear it will cause physicians to refer patients to hospital outpatient departments, which could potentially impose an obstacle for those seeking care by making it less convenient to access.

“This experiment affects all our constituents, Democrat or Republican, and we believe Congress, whose responsibility is to the electorate, is best tasked with making these decisions, not an unaccountable entity,” they continued. “Every American should have their voices heard rather than be silenced by Washington politics.”

Lawmakers in the Senate sent a similar letter pushing for the agency to pull the rule last week.

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