Earlier today, the Centers for Medicaid Services (CMS) released a notice withdrawing the “Medicare Program; Part B Drug Payment Model”, also known as the “Part B Demo.” As we discussed in a previous post, in December 2016, the Obama Administration announced it would not move forward with the program. This, coupled with opposition from industry and some on Capitol Hill made the Part B Demo an endangered species.
Today’s three-page announcement offered little additional insight as to why CMS pulled the Part B Demo rule once and for all. The notice cited the 1,300 comments, some of which expressed concerns. “As we worked to address these concerns, the complexity of the issues related to the proposed model design and the desire to increase stakeholder input led us to the decision to withdraw the March 11, 2016 proposed rule.” The decision received positive reaction from Congress. While this demonstration project is finished, how policymakers in Congress and the Administration address the way Medicare pays for drugs is far from over.