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Obama proposes controversial change to Medicare drug protection plan

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In his ongoing quest to revamp healthcare in this country, President Obama is now proposing a controversial plan to eliminate certain safeguards that currently guarantee access to a choice of antidepressant, antipsychotic and immunosuppressant prescription drugs for seniors that has been in place since 2006.

“This proposal is very disturbing,” commented legislative advocacy director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Andrew Sperling. “This is a key protection, and the cornerstone of what has made the benefit work for people with mental illness.”

While patients advocates have condemned the plan stating that it could “potentially limit access to critically needed medications for millions of people,” Mark McClellan, first administrator of the Medicare prescription benefits program argues that “it may make sense to ease some of the patient protections because there are now more alternate low-cost generic drugs available than when President George W. Bush added them to the program to ensure that private health insurance plans had to “cover all, or substantially all medications in the three above classifications for broad access to senior citizens and disabled beneficiaries.”

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