Acting CMS Chief Expresses Doubt About HR 4

The Washington Post reports that Acting Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Leslie Norwalk expressed doubts about the value of the bill — H.R. 4 — that would authorize her agency to negotiate Medicare Part D drug prices with manufacturers, echoing criticisms published in yesterday’s New York Times (see 1/7 FEHBlog entry). The Department of Health and Human Services announced today that the current competitive system under which the private Medicare Part D drug plan sponsors negotiate with the manufacturers is producing lower Medicare Part D program costs. Of course, the sponsors of HR 4 beg to differ. The bill is expected to be put to vote on January 12 pursuant to Section 510 of H. Res. 6, which the House passed on January 5.