Proposed rules would allow states to tailor Medicaid benefits for different populations and to implement cost-sharing to encourage beneficiaries to use lower-cost preferred drugs. The proposed rule sets copays at $4 for preferred drugs and $8 for nonpreferred drugs.
Democrats say they can reduce spending on Medicare without cutting benefits, but at least some current or future beneficiaries would be affected by the options under consideration, including raising the eligibility age, increasing Part B premiums and changing cost-sharing structures. Proposals to require drugmakers to offer rebates to those eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid are likely to be defeated.
The National Community Pharmacists Association, National Association of Chain Drug Stores and three other groups are fighting a proposal in the Senate's bill reauthorizing FDA user fees that would classify commonly abused painkillers as Schedule II controlled substances. The proposal would require a new prescription each time the drugs are dispensed, storage in a safe and regular assessment of inventory.
Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are urging the congressional deficit-reduction supercommittee not to make more cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, despite presidential proposals to the contrary.