Burgess Opening Statement on CMS' Attack on Medicare Part D
February 26, 2014
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), Vice-Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, today prepared the following opening statement to be delivered at a hearing titled “Messing With Success: How CMS’ Attack on the Part D Program Will Increase Costs and Reduce Choices for Seniors”:
"The end of 2013 marked the 10-year anniversary of the creation of the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit. Not only has Part D come in at 45 percent under budget, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has reduced its 10-year projections for Part D by over $100 billion in each of the last three years.
"Part D’s success is largely attributable to its competitive, free-market structure.
"Despite a proven track record of success, CMS has proposed to fundamentally restructure the Part D program, allowing the government to interfere in private plan negotiations, restrict beneficiary choice of plans, and limit incentives that lower costs for consumers. Only in Washington would there be a big government solution in search of a problem that does not exist.
"CMS’ interference is projected to eliminate 50% of current Part D drug plans in 2015 - driving premiums higher for nearly 14 million seniors and increase costs in the entire Medicare program.
"Even more concerning is CMS’ proposal to eliminate several of the “Protected Classes” under Part D. The protected classes were designed to ensure vulnerable patients have continual access to life-saving drugs. Not all drugs are inter-changeable, especially in the case of Immunosuppressants. The science of how these drugs operate has not changed, so why should the policy?
"The removal of these drugs from protected class status risks the lives of current and future beneficiaries, further jeopardizing transplanted organs and patients’ lives.
"Yet again, CMS has proposed a policy that is “penny-wise and pound-foolish”. Not only has the program increased patient access to drugs and made positive effects on the health of
beneficiaries, the program has extended the solvency of the entire Medicare program, saving billions of dollars over the past ten years.
"Rather than continue a successful program and encourage innovation, CMS has chosen to ruin one of the only “working parts” in our current healthcare system, leaving patients and taxpayers with the short end of the stick."
More information can be found at http://energycommerce.house.gov/hearing/messing-success-how-cms%E2%80%99-attack-part-d-program-will-increase-costs-and-reduce-choices