WASHINGTON, June 21 (UPI) -- U.S. House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Pete Stark, D-Calif., Thursday called for more consumer protections in Medicare Part D.
"We desperately need to bring some order to this market," Stark said at a hearing of the subcommittee.
The private insurance companies that administer the Part D prescription drug benefit are taking advantage of the overwhelming number of coverage options to bamboozle seniors, he said. Because of inertia, seniors tend to stay in plans that may not be the best option for them.
Furthermore, "even when beneficiaries are properly signed up for a plan, some still have difficulty obtaining appropriate medicines," he said.
The hearing was one in a series held by Stark, who supports a Medicare-administered plan in which the agency negotiates drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.
Supporters of the benefit's private structure say the proliferation of plans has led to lower prices and better benefits through competition.