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CMS Provides Unclear Testimony on Medicare Part B Demo

Posted: June 28, 2016

The widely opposed Medicare Part B Demo proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) took center stage again as the U.S. Senate Finance Committee convened for a hearing; Examining the Proposed Medicare Part B Drug Demonstration.

Dr. Patrick Conway, Acting Principal Deputy Administrator, represented CMS in providing testimony while fielding questions from committee members. Dr. Conway’s opening statement reiterated CMS’ position and thought process behind the Part B Demo, providing little detail into how the agency will react to the over 300 opponents entered into the record by Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

Members of the committee, both Democrats and Republicans, questioned CMS’ motives and requested that the agency provide a list of supporting stakeholders, suggesting that the Part B Demo is just another item for the Administration to check off its bucket- list before the expiring term in January.

Dr. Conway’s response to the majority of questions ended in, “CMS will consider and review all comments and concerns when deciding if an adjustment needs to be made before the final rule is submitted,” leaving committee members’ inquiries into many issues unanswered.

The committee concluded without any significant developments other than to report a number statistics that directly undermine the reasoning behind the proposed rule. The CSRO has been actively engaged in opposing the Medicare Part B Demo and will continue to be a voice for patients and providers as this proposal progresses.