not neglect seniors
As most Arkansasans know, Medicare Part B covers drugs and services that require a healthcare professional’s supervision and cannot be self-administered, drugs and services that treat Arkansans suffering from some of the most chronic illnesses.
Medicare Part B drugs are not purchased by beneficiaries in pharmacies but by the physicians who administer them in their offices. In turn, Medicare reimburses physicians for their costs. When Congress passed the Medicare Modernization Act in 2003, it altered the reimbursement rates Medicare paid for drugs and services covered under Part B. Congress set reimbursement rates based on Average Sales Price (ASP) plus 6 percent. This was a significant change that has proved to be a tremendous cost-savings to our federal government. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission stated they believe the new rates have resulted in “substantial savings for Medicare on nearly all drugs.”
As Congress looks to trim our nation’s deficit and increase revenue, I am concerned about proposals that would further reduce the ASP. Healthcare providers, particularly those in rural areas, are already struggling to keep practices open and provide certain drugs and services. Additional cuts will only exacerbate these problems, leaving our senior and disabled populations with even fewer options.
While reducing our deficit is a noble goal, doing it on the backs of our most vulnerable is not. I would ask our government representatives to please work hard to preserve Medicare Part B reimbursement rates and consider alternative paths to deficit reduction.
— Martha Deaver, Conway