Ellmers Introduces Legislation to Keep the Promise to Seniors

March 6, 2014

Rep. Renee Ellmers: “Millions of our seniors are facing catastrophic changes to their Medicare Part D benefits and today I’m introducing a bill to stop it.”

WASHINGTON, DC – As part of the ongoing effort to protect America’s seniors and most vulnerable citizens, House Energy and Commerce Committee member Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) today introduced H.R. 4160, the Keep the Promise to Seniors Act. H.R. 4160 would protect and preserve the integrity of the Medicare Part D prescription drug program and prevent the administration from imposing unilateral changes that would lead to cancelled plans, fewer choices, and higher costs for seniors and taxpayers.

Ellmers, a registered nurse for over 21 years, released the following statement upon introducing the Keep the Promise to Seniors Act:

"Millions of our seniors are facing catastrophic changes to their Medicare Part D benefits, and today I'm introducing a bill to stop it. In January, we learned that the Obama administration issued a proposed rule that will fundamentally change how Medicare Part D functions and eliminate the competitive elements that have led to low costs and affordable prescription drug coverage. These cuts would include three out of the six protected classes of drugs that many nursing home patients need, including antidepressants, anti-psychotics and imunosuppressants. In my home state of North Carolina alone, over 550,000 senior citizens stand to lose their prescription drug coverage if this rule goes into effect.

"The administration's 700 page rule is a complete assault on this program and would remove the free market mechanisms that have made it work. This widely successful and popular program has provided our seniors with options, choices and an affordable way to purchase prescription drugs. Medicare Part D requires prescription drug companies to compete and offer a diverse set of options which have driven down costs and led to a successful model that has routinely come in under budget.

"The Obama administration must be held accountable for this attempt to seize control over a program that is a proven success. Americans should be asking themselves why this is happening. Why does the Obama administration want to take a successful program and remove the very elements that made it work? Here in the House, we are not waiting to find the answer. This program has helped millions of seniors get the medication they need while making it affordable. I'm proud to introduce the Keep the Promise to Seniors Act and look forward to its timely action here in the House."

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in January proposed changes to the Medicare Part D program that would destroy the competitive nature that has allowed it to successfully offer quality and affordable health care choices to seniors at a lower than estimated cost to taxpayers. Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and other leaders in the House and Senate have expressed their concerns about the legality of the administration’s proposed changes. The Health Subcommittee also recently held a hearing to review the administration’s proposal. Principal Deputy Administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Jonathan Blum failed to assure the subcommittee that the proposed changes would not lead to more broken promises for seniors nor did he provide legal justification for the administration’s proposed changes.

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