H.R. 4160 The Keep the Promise to Seniors Act
March 7, 2014
Sponsored by Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)
Legislation Protects Seniors from Obama Administration Attack on Medicare Part D
- H.R. 4160, the “Keep the Promise to Seniors Act” protects seniors enrolled in Medicare prescription drug plans by blocking a recent Obama administration rule that will eliminate choices for seniors, raise seniors’ premiums and drug costs, and increase costs for taxpayers.
- In January 2014, the administration issued a 700-page rule that undermines the competition-based model at the heart of Medicare Part D program. These changes include:
- Allowing CMS to interfere in contract negotiations between plans and pharmacies.
- Limiting the number of prescription drug coverage options that can be offered by a plan to two per region.
- Imposing costly new restrictions on preferred pharmacy and mail-order prescriptions.
- These regulations mean seniors who like their prescription drug plan may lose it.
- Up to 50% of Part D plans may be eliminated or materially changed. Approximately 214 enhanced benefit plans would be eliminated or disrupted.
- A state-by-state breakdown shows that 14 million seniors could be forced out of their plan.
- Seniors and taxpayers will face higher costs initially, and they will increase over time.
- The 700-page rule is another Obama administration attempt to flout the rule of law.
- The rule unlawfully gives HHS the power to interfere in negotiations between plans and pharmacies.
- This “reinterpretation” of the law’s “noninterference provision” ignores the letter of the law, the legal opinion of the current HHS Inspector General, a memorandum written by the former White House counsel, and a decade of legal statements made by CMS during the Bush and Obama administrations.
- There is mounting opposition to the rule from over 350 organizations representing patients, seniors, employers, Americans with disabilities, manufacturers, plans, and pharmacies. A strong bipartisan group of House Members and Senators have also written to CMS in opposition to the rule.
- The rule is Washington messing with success and an attempt to “fix” a program that is already working.
- Seniors have at least 23 plan options in every Medicare region.
- Surveys show that 90% of seniors are satisfied with their prescription drug plan.
- By using market competition instead of Washington mandates and price controls, the Part D program has driven down premiums and program costs. The average Part D premium is $30 per month, roughly half the original projection. The program is estimated to cost 48 percent less than initially estimated by the Congressional Budget Office.
- Rather than cancelling the prescription drug plans that millions of seniors depend on, HHS should focus on cleaning up the damage and broken promises caused by Obamacare.