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2011-4

To Oppose Any Effort to Reduce the Federal Budget Deficit at the Expense of Patients and Seniors Who Rely on the Medicare and Medicare Part D Programs for Access to Health Care

Pichardo (RI) Introduced July 23 Executive Committee Meeting (Adopted)

Short Title: Preserving patient access to care in the Medicare and Medicare Part D federal programs.

WHEREAS As lawmakers work to reduce the national budget deficit, it is critical consider the negative impact that drastic spending cuts and reforms to the federal Medicare Program and Medicare Part D will have on patient care and access; and

WHEREAS Cuts to Medicare will jeopardize patient care and limit choice on necessary treatments and medications; and

WHEREAS The Medicare office has expressed concern that health care providers might leave the Medicare program as result of drastic spending cuts, which would remove choices and lower quality of care for seniors in Medicare; and

WHEREAS Attempts to reduce the deficit through arbitrary quotas will penalize longer lives and medical innovation; and

WHEREAS Medicare and Medicare Part D work for patients and America, promoting medical innovation and providing seniors and disabled Americans with access to affordable medicines ; and

WHEREAS Competition in the Medicare Part D market drives drug costs down for patients. Medicare Part D costs 40 percent less than initially projected, thanks to competition among plans. Part D’s free market competition drives down spending growth for prescription medicines. Since 2006, spending growth dropped from 9 percent to 5.2 percent in 2009 – the fifth-lowest growth rate in 50 years; and

WHEREAS Reforms that stifle that competition in the Medicare Part D market will inflate seniors’ premiums, inhibit research and development for new treatments and medications for patients ; and

WHEREAS Medicare Part D plans are negotiating medicine rebates for millions of patients, including a 50 percent discount on brand name drugs in the Part D coverage gap, as part of the Medicare Part D Coverage Gap Discount Program; and

WHEREAS The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that, to date, the Medicare Part D Coverage Gap Discount Program has already saved patients and seniors $166 million dollars on medication costs. According to CMS, the closing of the coverage gap will save Medicare patients up to $2 billion by the end of this year. 271,000 Americans have benefited directly from the discount program thus far, saving an average of $613 per Medicare patient; and

WHEREAS Spending cuts that negatively impact patient access to care will ultimately exacerbate the problem of rising healthcare costs in the long run; and

BE IT RESOLVED, that although mounting deficits are a real threat to U.S. economic viability, efforts to reduce our debt must not come at the expense of patient access to care;

BE IT RESOLVED, that Members of Congress and the Administration examine how Medicare and Medicare Part D work for seniors, patients, and disabled Americans by providing access to affordable medicines;

BE IT RESOLVED, that Members of Congress and the Administration focus on long-term solutions that provide better health outcomes for Medicare patients, rather than short-term cost savings and arbitrary quotas;

BE IT RESOLVED, that Members of Congress and the Administration improve payment, delivery, and preventative care in order to reduce healthcare costs.

This resolution was adopted on July 23, 2011, at the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators 2nd Executive Committee Meeting held in Providence, RI.

Sponsored by: Senator Juan M. Pichardo (RI)