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Medicare Rights President Joe Baker Testifies at Congressional Hearing in Support of Part B Drug Payment Model

This week, Medicare Rights Center President Joe Baker testified in support of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposal to test new ways to pay for prescription drugs covered under Medicare Part B, at a hearing held by the Subcommittee on Health of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

“Calls to withdraw the Part B Drug Payment Model fail to acknowledge the very real and unrelenting beneficiary access challenges that exist under the current payment system—not merely hypothetical ones. We applaud CMS for proposing to test solutions that have the potential to alleviate calamitous cost burdens, which cause too many older adults and people with disabilities to forgo necessary care,” said Joe Baker in his testimony. “We urge members of Congress to support and strengthen the proposal by recommending improvements that put patients at the center of the payment model.”

The Medicare Rights Center’s support for the CMS proposal is informed by the organization’s experience working with people with Medicare and their families for more than two decades. Medicare Rights answers nearly 17,000 questions on its national helpline and provides educational tools and resources to over two million beneficiaries, family caregivers, and professionals annually. Challenges affording needed health care are a common theme heard on the helpline, affecting nearly one in five callers. Sky-high cost sharing for Part B prescription drugs is a notable concern, most often for cancer and immunosuppressant medications.

“People with Medicare and taxpayers deserve a Medicare program that pays for high-value, innovative health care. The Part B Drug Payment Model presents an important opportunity to ensure that the Medicare program meets this high bar,” said Baker.

The Medicare Rights Center also submitted comments in support of the CMS proposed Part B Drug Payment Model during the public comment period that ended on May 9.

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