CAHC Blasts Sanders/Cummings Legislation to Inject Government Meddling into Medicare Part D

WASHINGTON, DC (October 26, 2017): The Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC) – a coalition of employers, insurers, brokers, agents, patient groups, and physician organizations which unveiled its Prescriptions for Affordability initiative to address prescription drug costs affordability earlier this year – responded today to the introduction of The Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2017. The legislation, introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) would repeal Medicare Part D’s non-interference clause, allowing the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to intervene in private negotiations in the Medicare prescription drug program.

CAHC President Joel White released the following statement:
 
Medicare Part D is a rare Washington D.C. success story. It has cost billions less than initial projections, it earns high marks from nine out of 10 seniors, and is quantifiably reducing elderly mortality. With this proposal, Senator Sanders (I-VT) and Representative Cummings (D-MD) are attempting to fix what isn’t broken,” said CAHC President Joel White. “Part D's success is driven by market competition, not government control. As these legislators know full well, private insurers already negotiate with drug firms to secure discounts to the tune of 35 percent for Part D patients. Opening up these negotiations to bureaucratic meddling will not lower costs – a reality affirmed by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Rather, this overreaching legislation risks allowing the federal government to set prices unilaterally and refuse to cover medicines deemed too expensive – harming seniors’ access to care and turning a winning formula into a broken promise.”

White concluded, “CAHC vigorously opposes this and any similar efforts to repeal Part D’s non-interference provision, and instead urges lawmakers to work on actionable, consensus-based solutions to prescription drug access like those in our Prescriptions for Affordability blueprint – which outlines a series of reforms that could save up to $71 billion a year; far from the ‘negligible’ savings in Senator Sanders and Representative Cummings' ill-conceived proposal.”

###

Background:
The Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC) is a broad-based alliance with a primary focus: bringing down the cost of health care for all Americans. CAHC promotes policies that lower health costs through increased competition, informed consumers and more choices to help promote access to affordable coverage. Learn more at CAHC.net

CAHC unveiled its Prescriptions for Affordability initiative on May 17th, as reported in PoliticoWashington Examiner, Modern Healthcare, and others. The proposal offers a blueprint for lowering prescription drug costs supported by drug manufacturers, insurers, pharmacy benefit managers, patient advocates, and employer groups.