Wrong Medicare Model

Jul 03, 2019

To the Editor:

There are changes being proposed to Medicare that are garnering little attention but have huge consequences for New Jersey’s seniors and medical innovation.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), for example, is proposing to apply the International Pricing Index (IPI) model to Medicare Part B, forcing international price controls on medications under the program. While efforts to lower healthcare costs are certainly needed, the proposal is counterintuitive to the principles of our healthcare system.

The IPI model is based on countries with single-payer health systems that act very differently than our own. If we adopt this proposal, the federal government would be given control over prices and could dictate which medications patients can and cannot access to treat serious conditions such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

A central pillar of what makes the U.S. healthcare system unique is how we base our care on the free market and the highest quality of care available. Through advanced research and innovation, patients in the U.S. are able to access the latest medical advancements years before other countries.

For example, the U.S. had access to 95 percent of new cancer drugs launched between 2011 and 2018, while countries that follow the IPI model like Britain only had access to 74 percent and Greece, just 8 percent. Allowing the government to make choices based solely on price is not in the best interest of patients.

CMS should abandon the IPI model and instead focus on proposals that improve access to lifesaving medications while lowering copays.

Monica Stahl

Brant Beach

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