Sen. Chuck Grassley has sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, urging the agency to keep a policy in place that requires private Medicare insurers to cover all antidepressant medications and all immuno-suppressant drugs used for transplant patients.
CMS is considering changing this rule. In a report last month, the agency reasons that medications in these categories include a number of generic options.
But Grassley doesn’t agree.
"It's unclear that limiting the drugs would save money and patients should keep their access," he says. "I’m the sponsor of pending legislation to make the policy permanent. By making the policy permanent, then it can only be changed by Congress, not by regulation."
Currently, CMS has regulatory discretion and does not need Congressional approval for this sort of regulatory change.
The agency has not responded to a request for comment.