March 13, 2014

White House Scraps Medicare Part D Changes — For Now

Obama puts aside a plan to limit drugs available through federal program.

The Obama administration reversed its decision this week to limit a number of drugs that seniors could obtain through the Medicare Part D prescription drug program. The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services issued an edict earlier this year that it would remove a series of antidepressants, immunosuppressants and other drugs in order to simplify the plan and ease the cost on taxpayers. This plan would have affected 39 million beneficiaries, who at the time of the announcement made a very vocal appeal to halt the change.

This drug coverage alteration would have resulted in another 7.4 million insurance plan cancellations or changes that would have only compounded recent woes that people have suffered at the hands of ObamaCare, even though Medicare Part D operates largely separate from that law. It does, however, signify the negative effect that constant tinkering with entitlements is having on the people who these entitlements are supposed to help.

Medicare Part D has been a thorn in the side of the Obama administration from Day One for a number of reasons. It proves that a government program can be cost-effective by operating on less money than was originally estimated, it demonstrates the success of competition in the marketplace, and it was put in place by a Republican president and Congress. Democrats have come up with a number of ways to destroy the program since 2009, but so far to no avail.

The CMS has left the door open, though, to take another shot at removing these drugs from the Part D schedule in the future. In fact, all of the tweaks to ObamaCare and insurance rules are merely to give the Dems cover for the midterm elections. If Democrats hold onto the Senate in the fall, expect the squeeze to get turned right back on.

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