KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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More Flexibility For Medicare Part D To Pursue Rebates Would Lead To Savings, Report Finds

The ability to negotiate additional prescription drug rebates for Medicaid beneficiaries saved the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services $16.7 billion, according to a report from HHS' Office of Inspector General. Medicare Part D does not have the same flexibility, something the OIG study recommends Congress and CMS work to fix.

The Wall Street Journal's Pharmalot: Medicare Part D Should Be Allowed To Obtain More Rebates For Drugs: Study
A new report is encouraging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Congress to pursue additional rebates for prescription drugs purchased for the Medicare Part D program. The suggestion comes from the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, which conducted a review of drug prices and rebates in 2012 for both Medicaid and Medicare Part D. And the OIG is advocating for added rebates after concluding the givebacks helped Medicaid save substantially more money than Medicare Part D was able to achieve. (Silverman, 4/28)

Modern Healthcare: Medicaid Saves Billions More Than Medicare From Drug Rebates
A federal law that limits the amount of money Medicare can recoup in drug rebates means the CMS is saving billions more on drugs for Medicaid beneficiaries than for those in Medicare's Part D prescription drug program, according to HHS' Office of Inspector General. In a report comparing expenditures for 200 brand name drugs, the watchdog agency found that Medicare got $10.3 billion in rebates for $66.5 billion worth of drug payouts in 2012, a rebate rate of about 15.5%. Medicaid paid out $35.7 billion but received $16.7 billion in rebates, a rebate rate of about 47%. (Dickson, 4/28)

The Fiscal Times: Medicare Overpaid $251 Million In 18 Months For Drugs
By reimbursing certain drug providers based on outdated pricing, Medicare has squandered millions of dollars that could have been saved if the recommendations of a government watchdog had been followed. As reported by The Washington Examiner, the Office of the Inspector General for the Health and Human Services Dept. found that Medicare has continued to pay providers of infusion drugs, which are delivered through IV pumps, at higher prices than necessary. HHS is paying providers based on 2003 prices when the drugs were more expensive--this despite warnings from the IG, most recently in February, 2013. (Scotti, 4/28)

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