The Obama administration is no longer pursuing the idea of experimenting on Medicare pay changes for prescription drugs in doctors' offices or for hospital outpatient departments. The experiment was aimed at improving care and helping slow spending on expensive medication.

These attempts focused on new methods through which patients could pay for their medication in Medicare Part B. The medication was supposed to address cancer or injectable antibiotics. The purpose of this measure was to align with the efforts of the administration to find ways to cut the very expensive costs of the drugs.

No More Patient Reimbursement

However, federal health officials proposed a series of rules months back, which had been opposed by the pharmaceutical industry and Republicans on Capitol Hill. A number of leading Democrats also manifested uncertainties against the health measures.

According to the spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency will not finalize the demonstration model before the president in force leaves his office.

"While there was a great deal of support from some, a number of stakeholders expressed strong concerns about the Model. While CMS was working to address these concerns, the complexity of the issues and the limited time available led to the decision not to finalize the rule at this time," noted the spokesman, Dec. 16.

While the measure was well contested by the Republicans, who were thrilled to find out that the experiments will cease, a few Democrats also felt relieved about ceasing to follow this idea.

"While the proposed Medicare Part B demonstration had admirable goals, our members raised a number of concerns, and we are pleased the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation has decided not to move forward," noted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.

A Noble But Impractical Idea

According to the CMS website, Medicare Part B had the intention to help physicians prescribe the drugs that are most efficient and test different payment schemes to support patients.

"The proposed Medicare Part B Model would test new ways to support physicians and other clinicians as they choose the drug that is right for their patients. It is designed to test different physician and patient incentives to do two things: drive the prescribing of the most effective drugs, and test new payment approaches to reward positive patient outcomes," states the website.

Many of the stakeholders that the Medicare Plan B tried to help appreciated the effort, despite the fact that it seemed a little uncoordinated. However, even the ones who were most optimistic about this series of measures expressed comfort in the fact that it will not continue.

"It was encouraging to have such strong support from Congress to end this proposed model that was, at best, an overreach by CMS, created with no stakeholder input," noted Ted Okon, executive director of the Community Oncology Alliance.

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