Letter to the Editor Ensuring Medicare beneficiaries are protected from discrimination in medical treatment

Published 5:00 pm Sunday, April 14, 2019

Last month, I joined healthcare advocates in Washington, D.C., alongside my fellow American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network volunteers, to ensure that our most vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries are protected from discrimination in medical treatment.

Currently, Medicare Part D plans are required to cover nearly all drug therapies in the designated six protected classes to treat cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, mental illness and organ transplants. This policy has been in effect since Medicare Part D started, but the Department of Health and Human Services has proposed changes that could threaten these protections. One change could leave patients without access to lifesaving medication if the cost of that drug increases above a certain threshold, which is a terrifying possibility for anyone battling cancer.

I asked Congressman Brian Babin to share these concerns with HHS Secretary Alex Azar and our Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. Cancer patients facing a tough road to recovery do not need the added worry of possibly losing their medications or being forced to try alternative therapies – especially if current treatments are working. 

I urge Secretary Azar to protect patient’s lives and stop these proposed changes to Medicare Part D.


Nancy Neel
ACS CAN Texas State Lead Ambassador