The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) urges Member of Congress to oppose any amendment to repeal the non-interference provision of the Medicare Part D law. Senior citizens and people with disabilities have access to important, needed medications thanks to Medicare Part D. Part D provides this access and affordability for Medicare participants thanks to its competitive, market-based pricing structure that allow Part D plans, drug manufacturers, and pharmacies to negotiate prices and discounts for those who rely on Medicare coverage for the prescriptions they need.
This market-based pricing structure has allowed Medicare Part D to provide access to these medications at significant savings to taxpayers. As a result, Medicare Part D makes up only 11.8% of Medicare’s total budget. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that Part D costs are already 45% lower than projected, with premiums remaining stable year-over-year and lower than original projections. And, the Part D pricing structure has allowed for larger-than-average rebates and discounts from manufacturers than seen in commercial health plans. This is good news for the federal budget, for taxpayers, and for Medicare beneficiaries who depend on this program to keep them healthy and alive.
Medicare Part D works. This competitive pricing structure works, in large part, due to what is known as the “non-interference clause.” This clause prohibits the federal government from interfering in price negotiations, or creating a specific formulary for the program. The CBO has reported, and the market bears, that the HHS Secretary would not be able to negotiate lower prices or greater discounts than the plans are already able to do. The CBO also believes the only way an HHS Secretary could reduce costs is to limit access to medications, which is dangerous and an enormous risk to the patients who benefit from Medicare Part D.
We must do everything in our power to protect and enforce the current pricing structure of Medicare Part D. We call on Congress to allow the program to continue to build on its success in protecting and supporting the health of those who need this program and oppose any amendment to repeal the non-interference clause.
Fractures related to osteoporosis threaten the health and independence of older Americans. And fractures are common: more than 2 million fractures happen each year due to osteoporosis. The statistics are staggering and unnecessary.
A DXA (Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) bone density test is a non-invasive, simple, yet top-quality test for screening and diagnosing patients that may need to be treated for osteoporosis. DXA is more powerful in predicting fractures than cholesterol is in predicting a heart attack or blood pressure is in predicting a stroke. Unfortunately, since 2007, Medicare has significantly cut the funding for DXA testing in physician’s offices leading to a sharp decline in the number of people tested, diagnosed and treated, and the number of physicians offering this service, resulting in an increase in hip fractures.
NOF and colleagues at the International Society for Clinical Densitometry (ISCD) are supporting legislation – HR 2461, the Increasing Access to Osteoporosis Testing for Medicare Beneficiaries Act of 2015 in Congress. This legislation would help ensure that patients have access to DXA testing by restoring Medicare funding for DXA.
We are grateful to the following Members of Congress who have signed on as sponsors of this important legislation.
Below is a list of Cosponsors in the 114th Congress:
*If your Member of Congress is not on the list below, please contact them today!
“I have osteoporosis in my hips so I have a vested interest in making sure everyone who needs it can receive a bone density test. My doctor turned my bone loss around and now has me gaining bone for the last (2) years. I am really excited about the program that he has put me on. If I hadn’t had a bone density scan during my physical, I would still be losing bone or, worse yet, I might have broken a bone. As it is, I am enjoying golf, riding horses, traveling and exercising regularly, like I always have.” -Steve from Mississippi
What can you do to help?
The National Osteoporosis Foundation is asking everyone concerned about osteoporosis to use their voice to tell Congress about the importance of this legislation. Please use the information below to write directly to your member of Congress to take action today (the links will take you to a website sponsored by our partner ISCD).
- Go to https://www.votervoice.net/ISCD/Campaigns/46517/Respond to send a pre-drafted email to your members of Congress (you will need to provide your mailing address to ensure this message can go to all of your representatives in Washington).
- Sign the Petition. ISCD has also created an online petition with a goal of generating 20,000 signatures to demonstrate to Congress that action must be taken to protect patients. Use this link https://www.votervoice.net/ISCD/Petitions/677/Respond to sign the petition.
Thank you for taking action on this important effort.