CMS stumbles on Medicare Part D oversight, lawmakers say

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Lawmakers this week criticized the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services for its oversight of the Medicare Part D prescription drug program. In particular, they cited the agency's failure to protect seniors from administrative problems and aggressive sales tactics.

Senators at Tuesday's Senate Finance Committee hearing also talked about low reimbursement levels and lack of pricing transparency. Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) said "there is a very deep sense that CMS is not sufficiently scrutinizing private plans."

The hearing coincided with a report from the Government Accountability Office stating that dual-eligible beneficiaries, many of whom reside in nursing homes, did not pursue retroactive Medicare Part D payments last year. The reason is because the government did not notify them of this right until this year, the GAO found.