Tuesday, March 11, 2014

ObamaCar in Reverse

Administration Reverses Course on Proposed Medicare Drug Changes

Headline for Kaiser Health News, March 11, 2014

Think of ObamaCare as a car.  Call it ObamaCar.   

It has a forward drive gear, a park gear, a neutral gear, and a reverse gear.

It’s been on the road for 4 years now. It’s expensive to run.  You’re beginning to wonder if it will outlast its payments or the patience of its owners, the American taxpayers.  

You wonder what gear to put it in.  Keep in it drive, and it may crash.  Put it in park, and your liberal constituents will be unhappy.  Put it in neutral, and extremists on the left and right will yell “foul!”.   

Lately, with that blinding political sun glare,  the thickening  fog, and  all that traffic congestion and all those traffic delays, detours, and glitches, you fear you may end up in the ditch.  
There’s danger ahead, the midterms, and the traffic lights is blinking red.

So you throw ObamaCar  in reverse.  You were going to end the practice of covering essentially  any type of antidepressant, antipsychotic, or antimmunosuppressant in the Medicare Part D program that covered 39 million beneficiaries.  
But late last week,  more than 370 organizations representing insurers, drug makers, pharmacies,  physicians,  other providers  urged the driver of ObamaCar (the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS)  to withdraw the changes it proposed.  So CMS abruptly withdrew its proposal.

There was clearly too many roadblocks and  too much congestion ahead.   You issued this statement, “ Given the complexities of these issues and stakeholder input, we do not plan to finalize these proposals at this time.  We will engage in further stakeholder input before advancing some or all of these changes in those areas in future years.”

Translated,  this bureaucratese  means, “We’re putting in ObamaCar in reverse gear, at least for the moment.”

Tweet:  The Obama administration is reversing course on its proposal to limit Medicare coverage for certain drugs, including those used to treat depression and schizophrenia.

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