Medicare Monday: What they are saying about MedPAC’s Part B recommendations

Nicole Longo   |     April 10, 2017   |   SHARE THIS


Last week, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) voted on a number of recommendations affecting Medicare Part B. These proposed changes could negatively impact patients’ access to Part B medicines that are used to treat complex and serious conditions, like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and mental illness, among others. In case you missed it, we looked at these recommendations ahead of the vote.

A broad group of stakeholders has raised widespread concern with these recommendations, both before and after the vote. Here’s a look at what some have said.

  • Coalition of Nearly 200 Groups: “Reducing Part B payments for providers, whether through reductions in the Part B payment rate or another mechanism, will make it more difficult for providers, particularly small practices and those in rural settings, to purchase certain drugs at the payment rate. … The recommendations MedPAC is proposing could accelerate the problem in ways that make care more difficult to obtain, potentially forcing changes to treatment plans that are working well for patients.”
  • Community Oncology Alliance: “With all due respect to the MedPAC commissioners and staff, the Part B draft recommendations completely ignore the realities of the American cancer care delivery system and will backfire. If implemented, these recommendations will cause the complete opposite of their intent, fueling more increases in Part B costs for Medicare and beneficiaries.” – Jeff Vacirca, M.D., president of Community Oncology Alliance
  • Patient Access to Community Treatment Coalition: “Reducing payments for Part B medicines would create further difficulties for providers, especially those in small practices and rural settings, to provide affordable medications to patients in critical need. These policies would continue to force shifts in patient care from smaller practices to large health systems, disrupting current treatment plans that work well for patients and creating new cost and travel hurdles for access to community-based care.”
  • Texas Oncology: “I am disappointed that the commission voted to proceed with their proposal to Congress for changes to Medicare payment for physician administered drugs under the Part B program, despite concerns raised by patients and physicians alike.” The recommendations “will only accelerate the shift of care from the cost-effective physician office setting to the more expensive hospital setting, reducing patient access and increasing Medicare costs.” – Barry Brooks, an oncologist with Texas Oncology

Learn more about Part B and how it works to help ensure patients have access to the medicines they need here.

Nicole Longo

Nicole Longo Nicole is senior director of public affairs at PhRMA focusing on Medicare, 340B, importation and more. She previously worked for a D.C.-based public affairs firm where she assisted a wide range of clients with communications efforts on everything from trade policy to agriculture policy to health care policy. Outside the office, Nicole can be found trying new restaurants (usually Italian), taking an occasional barre class and cheering on the Cincinnati Bengals.

Topics: Medicare, Medicare Monday, Part B

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