New regulation would hike premium and drug costs for Medicare Part D users

Washington, DC - An effort by the Obama Administration to impose new, unnecessary regulations on the Medicare prescription drug benefit, Part D, is nearing the final stage and would increase costs for seniors.

The Administration's effort to destabilize Medicare Part D has been has been ongoing over the past several months.  At this time, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is finalizing a regulation, along with sub-regulatory guidance, that could lead to less choice, higher premiums and drug costs for Medicare Part D enrollees.

"It was good news that CMS withdrew its Proposed Rule changes a couple of weeks ago, but now they're attempting, through regulation, to remove free market competition from the drug benefit that will limit choice and increase premiums for mature Americans," said Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) President Dan Weber.  "More than seventy-five percent of beneficiaries who are enrolled in prescription drug plans with preferred pharmacy networks will experience an increase in Part D premiums starting in 2015," Weber added.

CMS issued a proposed regulation for the Part D program in February that spans 700 pages and includes new mandates on how Part D prescription drug plans operate.  Under the Administration's proposal, popular drug plans that offer low premiums and low copays could be forced to raise costs or simply stop offering a drug plan entirely.

AMAC has made its position clear: "Leave this benefit alone.  Medicare Part D is working as it was intended and should not be subject to burdensome and unnecessary government mandates."

As a "champion of free markets," Weber reiterated that AMAC does not want to see the role of government unnecessarily expanded, especially when it could lead to higher costs for seniors.  "AMAC will continue to oppose any changes to this market based program and strongly urges CMS to stop interfering in seniors' prescription drug benefit.  The government should keep their hands off  Medicare drug plans and it should rescind this regulation once and for all," he said.

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