Why Is Choice a Bad Thing?

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By Devon Herrick,

from NCPA,

Medicare bureaucrats believe seniors have too much choice! Last month the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed sweeping changes to the Medicare Part D drug program. Released without fanfare, buried in a 700 page veritable plethora of regulations published in the Federal Register were three significant changes to the Medicare drug program. These proposed regulations include: 1) Any willing pharmacy regulations to prohibit exclusive networks; 2) reducing the number of protected classes of drugs covered in each plan; and 3) reducing the number of drug plans that plan sponsors are allowed to offer in each service region.

Any willing pharmacy regulations prevent plan sponsors from creating exclusive pharmacy networks. The proposed regulations would require drug plans to allow participation by any pharmacy willing to abide by the terms of the “winning” bidder in the network contract. This weakens drug plans’ bargaining power to negotiate the lowest prices from pharmacies competing to be included in a network.

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