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Opinion: Applause for Medicare Part D vote

U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.)  just helped prevent devastating cuts to the prescription drug coverage that over a quarter million Connecticut Medicare beneficiaries depend on. She deserves our deep gratitude.

Earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced “reforms” that would have decreased access to a whole range of medications covered by Medicare’s prescription drug benefit, known as Part D.

Fortunately, Esty, Connecticut’s 5th District rep, and her colleagues blocked the new rules and persuaded the administration to take them off of the table. But similar changes targeting Part D are almost certain to pop up again. CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner has already announced plans for “advancing some or all of the changes . . . in future years.”

The proposed rules would have eliminated immunosuppressants, antidepressants, and antipsychotics from Part D’s list of six “protected classes” of drugs. Had these reforms passed, countless beneficiaries would have found their health — perhaps even their lives — at risk.

Shawn M. Lang is the director of public policy at AIDS Connecticut.

See the complete story at CT News Junkie.

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