In bipartisan, bicameral effort to help older adults save money when choosing a Medicare healthcare plan, Senators Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA), and Tom Carper (D-DE) and Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Brad Wenstrup, DPM (R-OH), reintroduced the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) Part D Choice Act in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate in May 2023. The legislation allows Medicare-only PACE participants to choose between the PACE Part D plan or a standalone Medicare Part D plan without incurring high Part D premiums.

“No one should have to choose between the benefits of the PACE program and being able to afford prescription coverage,” Blumenauer said. “This legislation offers a commonsense solution to help more Americans afford PACE.”

Under the current model, PACE participants must enroll in their PACE Program’s Medicare Part D prescription drug plan and are unable to choose an alternative stand-alone Part D plan. The legislation would enable Medicare-only participants and future Medicare beneficiaries to select plans that could save them nearly $1,000 a month.

“PACE participants should have the same access to lower premiums and affordable prescription drugs as those in other Medicare programs,” Cassidy said. “This will lead to better health outcomes for seniors with chronic illness.”

“As a physician, I know how important affordable access to needed prescriptions is for patient health outcomes,” Wenstrup said. “PACE allows seniors to have access to the care and services they need while they remain in their community. This legislation will allow PACE participants to access more affordable drug plans.”

Financial toxicity limits many patients’ access to high-quality cancer care. Breaking down socioeconomic barriers, particularly for cancer drugs and older adults, is a priority item on the ONS Health Policy Agenda. Join ONS in advocating for legislation that supports “equitable, comprehensive, and affordable access to health care without discrimination, for all populations, including those at risk, vulnerable, underserved, or underrepresented.”