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Obama administration drops changes in Medicare drug coverage rules

March 10, 2014 at 5:38 PM

WASHINGTON, March 10 (UPI) -- The Obama administration dropped plans for Medicare drug coverage rule changes that were berated by Congress and lobbyists.

Marilyn Tavenner, who heads Medicare, told lawmakers Monday her agency would not finalize regulations that give insurers more leeway to limit the number of drugs covered for Medicare beneficiaries, the Hill reported.

Critics argued making the changes would have hampered seniors' access to necessary medications while the administration said it would be a cost-savings measure.

Tavenner's announcement means six classes of prescription drugs will still be subject to strict rules that would require nearly all drugs in the classes be covered under Medicare, the Hill said. If the changes had advanced, only three classes of drugs would have been subject to the strict rules.

"We will engage in further stakeholder input before advancing some or all of the changes in these areas in future years," Tavenner said in a letter to lawmakers

"We are committed to continuing to work with Congress to continue to ensure that Parts C and D work best for Medicare beneficiaries," she said.

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