Week in Review: Preserving What Works

Week in Review: Preserving What Works

06.14.13 | By Kaelan Hollon

The first step toward finding solutions in our health care ecosystem is to identify what works, protect what is successful and fix what isn’t. This includes access to medicines, continued research and development and developing programs that get patients the treatments they need.

To this point, President and CEO John Castellani discussed the importance of the Medicare prescription drug program, or Part D, in The Hill’s Congress blog. He noted that the current health care system is struggling to control costs and it is important to protect the government programs that work. Part D has made prescription medicines more widely available to seniors and the disabled and costs 45 percent less than initially projected over the first 10 years of the program. As Castellani concluded, with 94 percent of enrollees saying they are satisfied with a program that saves money for beneficiaries and the government, why change it?

Just as important is highlighting inaccuracies that could taint how people view a particular issue or program. This week, we pointed out that a new study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine overlooked some important facts about prescription drug coverage. The report compared prescription diabetes medicine use between Part D and the Veterans Affairs (VA) program. What the study and media coverage didn’t mention is the VA generates a high rate of generic utilization because it restricts a patient’s access to innovative medicines, which isn’t always the best solution. Everyone reacts differently to medicines, and sometimes brand drugs are more successful. The article also failed to note that approximately 42 percent of VA enrollees have supplemented their drug coverage with Part D or private insurance, which only highlights how restrictive the VA prescription coverage can be.

Promoting the most cost-effective policies and programs that get patients the medicines they need is the ultimate objective for a system that is constantly evolving. Check the Catalyst often to learn more about the fast-paced changes affecting the industry at large. 

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