Law Faculty Articles and Research

CMS Information Policy Under Medicare “Part D” Creates 1st Amendment Problems

Ronald D. Rotunda, Chapman University


The United States has embarked on a new and hist oric undertaking: to provide extensive insurance coverage for drugs for senior citizens. The law, Medicare Part D, contemplates that new entities — called private Prescription Drug Plans or “PDPs” — will offer choices and compete for the patronage of each participant. Each senior citizen will decide which plan is best for him or her. The federal law assumes that, in making that choice, participants will have access to the information th ey need in order to choose the plan they want. The heart of the law is that private competition and the fr ee market will keep costs down, offer more choices, and allow each participant to tailor the Part D insurance to meet their particular needs. Thus, if the participant does not like the choices of a PDP, the participant will simply pi ck a different PDP with a different plan that is better for that participant from among the many PDPs that the government has already approved.