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Schakowsky, Welch, Doggett, Conyers Support New CMS Medicare Part B Demonstration Project

May 10, 2016
Press Release

Washington -- Today, Representatives: Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Peter Welch (D-VT), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), and John Conyers (D-MI) released the following statement after leading their colleagues in sending a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services urging them to move forward with their new proposal to create a demonstration project for drugs provided under Medicare Part B:
“Almost every day I hear from my constituents – including seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare -- about the burden of high prescription drug costs,” said Rep. Schakowsky.  “Those high costs mean many don’t fill prescriptions or don’t take full doses.  That’s why we support the Medicare proposed rule to test new value-based payment models for Part B prescription drugs.  Those models will give us the data we need to make sure people get the most appropriate medications without having to pay too much.”

“Medicare Part B’s drug program is flawed and driving up costs for seniors already squeezed by high prices,” said Rep. Welch. “ It is essential that we implement reforms that relieve the cost burden on seniors.  This demonstration project is a step in the right direction. Reimbursing for drugs based on value will drive down costs for patients and help us move to a more effective pricing model.”

“This rule is a step toward developing a pricing model that puts patient care and treatment value first,” said Rep. Doggett. “For too many Americans, a diagnosis of cancer or other dread disease is a prognosis of financial ruin.”

“If we truly believe every American should have access to quality, affordable healthcare we have to remove barriers to care, and the number one barrier to care is cost,” said Rep. Conyers. “There are more obvious and effective solutions out there, like a universal healthcare system similar to those of our allies in Britain and Canada, or at least allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices. We must build support for those priorities, but in the interim I applaud Director Slavitt and CMS for this effort to reign in skyrocketing prescription drug costs.”