ARTICLE | Politics & Policy

CMS backpedals on Part D changes

March 11, 2014 12:50 AM UTC

CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said that because of the "complexities of these issues and stakeholder input," the agency does not plan to finalize some of the changes to Medicare Part D proposed in January, according to a letter Tavenner sent to legislators. The proposals that CMS will not finalize include: eliminating two of the six protected classes for which plans must provide "substantially all" approved drugs; limiting the number of plans a given insurance company can offer in a single region; and allowing CMS to intervene in negotiations between payers and pharmacies, which would expand preferred pharmacy networks. In her letter, Tavenner said CMS will "engage in further stakeholder input before advancing some or all of the changes" in the future.

Since CMS issued the proposal, legislators and organizations including patient groups, health insurers and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) have pressured Tavenner and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to withdraw or not implement the proposed changes (see BioCentury, Feb. 17). ...