Last month, PhRMA sponsored “Making Medicare Work Better for Patients,” an event hosted by The Hill. During the event, policymakers, patient advocates and biopharmaceutical leaders spoke about how we can modernize Medicare Part D to help improve patient access and affordability.
The conversations from many of the speakers during the event made it clear: For nearly two decades, Part D has provided access to life-saving treatments for seniors and individuals with disabilities. But while nearly 90% of seniors report they are satisfied with their Part D coverage, many have been facing rising out-of-pocket expenses in recent years.
Last year, a policy change was finalized that would allow Part D beneficiaries to directly benefit from the deep discounts and rebates health plans receive from biopharmaceutical companies, which could reduce patients’ cost sharing, improve medication adherence and lead to better health outcomes.
Sadly, Washington policymakers are threatening to revoke or delay this final rebate rule to use the Medicare program as a piggybank to fund unrelated government programs. On top of this, some policymakers want to repeal a key patient protection in Part D known as the noninterference clause. Without this protection in Part D, the government could directly and negatively impact access to lifesaving medicines for seniors and people with disabilities.
Voters want lower out-of-pocket costs – policymakers should listen to their constituents and modernize how Medicare covers and pays for medicines, including making sure the savings negotiated with health plans and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are passed to beneficiaries, capping out-of-pocket costs and lowering cost sharing to make those costs predictable throughout the year for those with Part D. These are all changes that could lower costs and improve affordability without sacrificing access to medicines.
Watch the full event here.