Another Obamacare Proposal, Changes to Medicare Part D Drug Plan, Scrapped

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Plan to Limit Types of Antidepressants and Other Medicines Faced a Backlash.

The Obama administration said Monday that it would scrap much of a proposed plan to limit the types of antidepressants and other drugs that seniors can get through Medicare after a backlash from lawmakers and the health industry.

In January, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed broad changes to the Medicare Part D prescription-drug program that covers medicines for about 39 million beneficiaries. Among the most contentious proposals was one to end the practice of covering essentially any type of antidepressant, antipsychotic or immunosuppressant prescription drug for consumers in the program. Medicare had said the plan was meant to save taxpayers money and simplify the program for seniors.

In a letter sent to congressional lawmakers Monday, Marilyn Tavenner, the Medicare agency administrator, said the drug-coverage provision and some other proposed changes to pharmacy networks and drug plans would be shelved for now. Ms. Tavenner said the agency would “engage in further stakeholder input before advancing some or all of the changes in future years.”

She added that the agency planned to proceed with other proposals in its January document related to consumer protections and antifraud provisions that have bipartisan support. The House is scheduled to vote on a bill Tuesday by Rep. Renee Ellmers (R., N.C.) that directs Medicare to stop work on the proposed rule.

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