Administration drops proposed Medicare changes

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration says it's pulling the plug on proposed changes to the Medicare prescription program that ran into strong opposition on Capitol Hill.

Among other changes, the regulation proposed to remove three classes of drugs from a special protected list that guarantees seniors access to a wide selection of critical medications. The three classes of drugs facing removal were antidepressants, antipsychotics and drugs that suppress the immune system to prevent rejection of a transplanted organ.

The administration hoped to save a total of $729 million by 2019 with the change. But patient groups including the National Kidney Foundation and the National Alliance on Mental Illness pushed back hard.

Medicare administrator Marilyn Tavenner said Monday in a letter to Congress that the administration will not move forward with the changes.

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