WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) President Tom Schatz sent a letter to the House of Representatives urging members to support H.R. 4160, the “Keep Your Promise to Seniors Act,” after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) claimed in a March 10, 2014 letter to Congress that they will not go forward with the proposed rule for Medicare Part D’s drug benefit program. The CMS proposal, if finalized, would eliminate the lowest cost plan options utilized by 13 million satisfied beneficiaries, and reduce beneficiary plan choices in each geographic region by one-third. These affordable options have saved seniors and taxpayers billions of dollars. The CCAGW letter reads in part as follows:
“Part D is one of the few government programs that has consistently come in under budget. In 2004, the program’s projected cost in 2012 was estimated to be approximately $123 billion; its cost in 2012 was $55 billion. The most significant reason Part D has been successful is because the non-interference clause promotes robust competition among pharmaceutical companies, drug plans, and pharmacies to keep premiums and cost sharing low. The regulation that CMS proposed breaches this important clause.
“CMS’s proposal, if finalized, would reduce beneficiary plan choices in each geographic region by one-third, and in particular would eliminate the lowest cost plan options that 13 million highly satisfied beneficiaries have chosen. These options, some with premiums as low as $12.60 a month, have saved seniors and taxpayers billions of dollars.
“According to a survey released in September 2013, 90 percent of beneficiaries are satisfied, with 59 percent very satisfied with the Part D program. Not only does Medicare Part D provide good drug coverage to seniors, since 2012 the Congressional Budget Office has also begun to score Part D as providing an offset to overall Medicare spending. Their estimate is that a “1 percent increase in the number of prescriptions filled by beneficiaries would cause Medicare’s spending on medical services to fall by roughly one-fifth of 1 percent.” If people are taking medication as prescribed to control or prevent the harmful effects from their illness, they are less likely to be spending time in a hospital or visiting their doctor, which in turn saves money in Medicare Parts A and B. That’s good for seniors and taxpayers.
“I urge you to support this legislation. Any such proposed changes to Medicare Part D must be debated and decided by Congress, not a federal agency. All votes on H.R. 4160 will be among those considered for CCAGW’s 2014 Congressional Ratings.”
The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.