Sep. 30, 2018

Highlights of the Medicare Part D 15th Anniversary Summit

Medicare Access for Patients Rx (MAPRx), a coalition of over 55 patient advocacy organizations, today hosted a summit to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Medicare Part D. The event included panel discussions featuring policymakers, health care thought leaders, and patient advocates. The conversation focused on current challenges facing the program and ways to help strengthen it for current and future beneficiaries. The panels were moderated by renowned journalist Cokie Roberts.

“This historic summit brought together some of America’s leading health care experts and policymakers,” said Sandra C. Raymond, CEO of the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA). “On behalf of the LFA, and MAPRx and its more than 55 member organizations, I want to thank all of our panelists for lending their voices in support of Medicare Part D and the 43 million Americans who rely on it. I am confident that by working together we can protect and strengthen this critical program for many years to come.”

The day opened with a discussion between two current officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Dan Best, Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Drug Pricing Reform, and John O'Brien, Advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health Policy, shared the administration’s perspective on Part D, including their efforts to implement the recently released American Patients First blueprint to lower drug prices and reduce out-of-pocket (OOP) costs. View a recording of their remarks.

Following their remarks, leading patient advocates spoke about the importance of Part D for America’s seniors and those living with serious and chronic conditions. Panelists from The AIDS Institute, National Council on Aging, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network recalled the lack of access to prescription drugs prior to the passage of Part D and spoke about the success of the benefit in providing lifesaving therapies for the populations they represent. Panelists also referenced the report produced by the MAPRx Coalition: Fifteen Years of Part D: Gaining Perspective on the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit. This report highlighted the success of Part D and the challenges faced by patients, including no limits on OOP costs, the use of specialty tiers, and the impending OOP cliff that
could raise beneficiaries spending by $1,250 in 2020. Click here to view a recording of this panel.

The next panel featured three of the leading voices in the crafting and implementation of the original legislation creating the Part D benefit: Joel White, Liz Fowler, and Dean Rosen. They discussed the motivation of the administration and Congress to create a prescription drug benefit, as well as the compromises that were made to pass the legislation in a bipartisan manner. The panelists also shared their perspectives on the success of the program and ways it can be improved. View a recording of this panel.

Finally, the audience heard from two speakers who were directly responsible for administering Part D under two different administrations: Jon Blum, former Director, Center for Medicare, CMS (2009-2014), and Tom Scully, former Administrator, CMS (2001-2004). Mr. Blum and Scully gave their perspectives on the evolution of the program over the years, as well as their views on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. View a recording of their remarks.

The featured guest at the event was George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States.

Watch a full recording of the panel discussions.

About MAPRx
MAPRx is a coalition convened by the Lupus Foundation of America consisting of more than 55 patient, family caregiver, and health professional organizations committed to strengthening and protecting Medicare Part D. Learn more about MAPRx.