Mental Health Advocate Decries Proposed Part D Benefits Rule Change

In The Hill (3/30) “Congress Blog,” Andrew Sperling, director of Federal legislative advocacy for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, voiced his concern “about a proposal that would force sudden pharmaceutical changes on low-income Americans already struggling to maintain their health and well-being.” Under a proposed rule change to Medicare Part D benefits, for “beneficiaries whose very limited financial resources make them qualified for federal low-income subsidies or are dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, their copayments for brand name drugs would double.”

This could be disastrous for some patients living with a mental illness, Sperling argued, because “the mere switch of a drug from the name brand to generic versions can trigger episodes that represent a huge setback on that patient’s path toward better health and a productive life.” In some cases, there is no suitable substitute generic medication. Sperling urges Congress not to “impose artificial barriers between low-income Americans and the medicines they need.”

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— “Mental health matters and consistency counts,” Andrew Sperling, The Hill, March 30, 2015.

Posted in In The News.