House Energy & Commerce Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (PA-18) called on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to immediately withdraw their new proposal to restrict access to mental health drugs for senior citizens on Medicare Part D plans. Dr. Murphy's remarks, which are included below, were made at a hearing of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health entitled, "How CMS' Attack on the Part D Program Will Increase Costs and Reduce Choices for Seniors."
Last month, Rep. Murphy wrote to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner requesting information about the clinical basis of the new agency proposal to remove "protected class" status for two categories of non-interchangeable mental health drugs. He also authored the Helping Families In Mental Health Crisis Act, which would codify current agency policy known as "protected classes" for classes of antidepressants and anti-psychotic medications.
Today, Rep. Murphy, who is a clinical psychologist, called on CMS Principal Deputy Administrator Jonathan Blum to withdraw the proposal, citing a letter from the American Psychiatric Association that disputes the clinical justification for the agency action. The APA stated that CMS had "misinterpret[ed] and misrepresent[ed] APA's clinical practice guidelines multiple times as justification for limiting patient access to medically necessary psychotropic medications."