Keep the care in Medicare

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 8, 2003) – Congress is poised to consider Medicare prescription drug coverage legislation before Memorial Day; however, recent actions by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) put at risk access to the very important drugs that Medicare already covers today. Specifically, the 2003 Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) rule threatens patient access to necessary and appropriate treatments for conditions such as heart disease, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis and various types of cancer and rare disorders. To protect the interests of Medicare patients, Congress should pass legislation that fixes the OPPS problem.

Cancer patients could lose the quality of life they gain through innovative therapies with fewer side effects and transplant patients could experience a twenty percent increase in organ rejection if Congress doesn’t act to repeal the CMS rule.

Those examples and many others repeat themselves in hospitals across the country and it is this message – keep the care in Medicare -- that will be sent to Congress during a Capitol Hill press conference on Monday, May 12.

Doctors, patients, patient advocacy groups, medical center representatives and biotechnology researchers who develop innovative, life-saving medicines, will join together and urge Congress to fix the OPPS rule that drastically reduces Medicare reimbursements in the hospital outpatient setting when it considers its larger Medicare prescription drug bill.

Innovative biotech medicines saved the lives of patients across the country and now a CMS rule on payment may put those therapies out of reach for Medicare beneficiaries.

WHAT: Press Conference – Call to Action
WHO: Sharon L. Cohen, VP Government Relations, Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)
Wendy Andrews, Director of Oncology Services for the University Medical Center, Tucson, Arizona
Diane Dorman, Senior Director for Public Policy, National Organization of Rare Disorders (NORD)
WHEN: Monday, May 12, 2003 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: Russell Senate Office Building—Room 385