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Opposite effect

As Pennsylvania deals with one of the largest increases in unemployment in the country since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the last thing residents dealing with reduced income should have to worry about is affording their prescription medications. Unfortunately, a proposal from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) could significantly raise out-of-pocket costs and prevent access to needed medications for countless Pennsylvanians.

Many Pennsylvanians depend on cost-sharing assistance like co-pay coupons to afford the prescription drugs they need. While the proposal (CMS 2842 P) has good intentions — to ensure cost-sharing assistance benefits patients directly and not health plans — it actually has the opposite effect. It would, in fact, erode the availability of cost-sharing assistance and increase out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for patients.

The language in this proposal could have significant and far-reaching negative consequences, especially for those living with chronic conditions like HIV and diabetes, potentially resulting in reduced adherence to critical treatments for countless vulnerable Pennsylvanians.

We are in the midst of a pandemic that has already resulted in over 551,000 lost jobs and 8,000 deaths in Pennsylvania. Now more than ever, it is critical that our most vulnerable are able to afford the medication they need. As health care advocates, Consumers for Quality Care urges the Administration to swiftly pull back this proposal to ensure affordable access to critical care. Pennsylvanians depend on it.

DONNA CHRISTENSEN

Catharpin, Virginia

Submitted via Virtual Newsroom

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