KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Obama Administration Proposes Medicare Drug Change

The Associated Press/Miami Herald: Proposed Medicare Drug Change Stirs Access Worries
In a move that some fear could compromise care for Medicare recipients, the Obama administration is proposing to remove special protections that guarantee seniors access to a wide selection of three types of drugs. The three classes of drugs — widely used antidepressants, antipsychotics and drugs that suppress the immune system to prevent the rejection of a transplanted organ — have enjoyed special "protected" status since the launch of the Medicare prescription benefit in 2006. That has meant that the private insurance plans that deliver prescription benefits to seniors and disabled beneficiaries must cover "all or substantially all" medications in the class, allowing the broadest possible access (Alonso-Zaldivar, 1/11). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.