ICYMI: We co-hosted our first Twitter chat

In case you weren't able to join us on Thursday, the #mmeds discussion centered on Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit program.  Bart Peterson, former Mayor of Indianapolis and Lilly's Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs/Communications was gracious enough to answer as many of your questions as possible (in just 30 minutes!).  Using the Campaign for Modern Medicine's Twitter handle, Mr. Peterson offered many valuable insights during the discussion, and we wanted to follow-up his tweets with some hard facts:

@modernmeds: I've never seen a program with that level of satisfaction and that much under budget. That's the best evidence that Part D is working #mmeds

  • Eighty-five percent of beneficiaries are very satisfied with their drug benefits and premiums are affordable .   Part D provides comprehensive coverage even under the most basic plans. The competitive, private market structure under which Part D operates is a key factor in the program's success.  The program's actual costs have been 41% less than the initial CBO projection. 

@modernmeds: We are supportive of a market based system for Medicare Part D. #mmeds

  • Proposed changes to the program, such as introducing rebates into the pricing structure, threaten to destabilize a program that works well.  Part D already has a strong record of cost containment--it provides abundant choices of plans for beneficiaries that include the drugs they need at low monthly premiums. Furthermore, Part D prescription coverage has helped lower non-prescription medical costs for seniors; thus, decreasing health care spending in other areas.

@modermeds: Medicare Part D works and has expanded seniors' access to medicines; it costs less than originally projected #mmeds

  • Leading economists agree that including Medicaid-style rebates into the Part D program would raise premiums for seniors. Specifically, an analysis co-written by former CBO Director, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, estimates that this policy would increase premiums by 20-40%.   It is telling that earlier this year CBO reduced its 10-year project of Medicare spending by $186 Billion.  Two-thirds of this projected savings, or nearly $120 Billion, was attributable to a reduction in Part D costs--even though Part D only makes up about 12% of total Medicare spending.

As you can see, Friday's  #mmeds chat just got the conversation flowing.  We appreciated everyone's participation, and if you missed it, be sure to join the Campaign for Modern Medicines for the next discussion on Wednesday, October 19 at 10am EST!