Healthcare Advocates Oppose Changes to Medicare Part D
Friday, March 29, 2019
ST. PAUL, Minn. – From coast to coast, people who rely on Medicare Part D could be left without their medications if a proposal by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is adopted.
Medicare Part D is a federal program that subsidizes prescription drug costs for 45 million seniors and people with disabilities. The feds say they want to amend what's called the "six protected classes rule," and allow insurers to exclude many drugs from Part D plans.
Fatima Hyacinthe, trainer and engagement director with the Black AIDS Institute, says people who rely on those medications already report discriminatory practices by insurance companies, despite the rules.
"Situations where people who were in treatment for substance use disorder, and as soon as they were seen to not need that kind of intensive treatment – which is often the best practice for treatment – their insurance stops covering it," says Hyacinthe.
The CMS says the change would save money, but opponents warn that short-term savings could be canceled out by more spending on emergency-room visits.
This month, a California judge ruled against Minnesota's UnitedHealth Group, after determining the insurer discriminated against patients with mental health and substance abuse disorders in order to save money.
The proposal was made late last year but has not yet taken effect. Consumer advocates say removing drug-price protections from people with a serious illness could make a dire situation worse.
Hyacinthe sees the Medicaid Part D proposal as part of a broader attack on equality in health care.
"One day, we're defunding Medicare Part D or taking the teeth out of it," says Hyacinthe. “Another day we're creating work requirements for Medicaid recipients. And these things target the same group of folks – again and again, and again."
The Trump administration's proposal also would allow insurers to require that a patient try cheaper and potentially less effective medications first – and only grant access to newer, more effective prescriptions if the cheaper medications don't work.
get more stories like this via email
This is the last weekend to get involved in a photo competition designed to encourage Montanans to explore the wilderness with their pets. There …
In a new poll, about a quarter of Hispanic students in post-high school education and training programs report feeling discriminated against…
New Yorkers are preparing for an impending government shutdown. State officials are worried about how it could impact the work state agencies have …
Advocates are drawing attention to systemic racism in farming across North Carolina and the nation. The National Farm Worker Ministry is hosting its …
Researchers have found the amount of land affected by saltwater intrusion on the Delmarva Peninsula has dramatically increased in recent years…
This weekend marks the kickoff of National Bullying Prevention Month. Those raising awareness hope schools in South Dakota and elsewhere work toward …
The arrival of fall has farmers transitioning to the harvest season, but what if some gathered their crops with rows of solar panels right alongside …
A new report finds more than half of the sewage facilities in Idaho had pollution violations in 2022. The sixth annual analysis by the Idaho …