In the wide ideological gulf between Democrat and Republican healthcare reform efforts — with “Medicare For All” at one end and a market-based system at the other — there has emerged one bipartisan point of agreement: Those with preexisting conditions must be protected. Even those Republicans who want to wholly repeal Obamacare don’t want to return the days when insurers could deny applicants coverage because they had cancer.
That’s what makes a new rule proposed in November by the Trump Administration’s Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services so disappointing. In an effort to trim healthcare costs, the rule would allow Medicare Part D plans, which cover roughly 45 million Americans, to exclude some prescription drugs that are saving the lives of countless patients with rare and chronic conditions.
Currently, Part D plans are required to cover “all or substantially all” prescription drugs in six protected classes, including those that treat HIV, cancer, and depression. This requirement gives the sickest and most vulnerable patients peace of mind that they will have a full cupboard of pharmaceutical treatment options available.
This opinion piece is authored by our co-founder and executive director of public policy, Terry Wilcox, and published in Real Clear Health on January 2, 2019.