|10-31-2003, 11:14 AM||#1|
Join Date: Jul 2003
URGENT: Disturbing Medicare Drug Bill Developments. Calls Needed Now!
Conferees working on the Medicare prescription drug bill are on the verge of taking away the help Medicaid now provides to millions of the lowest-income and sickest seniors and people with disabilities when it comes to buying prescription drugs. Your calls are need RIGHT NOW to stop this in its tracks.
WHAT'S HAPPENING: Under the most recent proposal being considered by the conferees, all low-income seniors (including those who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, or "dual eligibles") would be able to enroll in the new Medicare prescription drug benefit. This is good news. However, in a disturbing development, the proposal also takes away the prescription drug help that millions of low-income seniors and people with disabilities get from Medicaid.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: These negotiations are happening today. Call your U.S. Senators and Representative as soon as possible. Tell them that the lowest-income Medicare beneficiaries need all the help they can get, and Congress should not take away the help that Medicaid provides to fill in the gaps in Medicare coverage.
To find information on contacting your Representative, click here: http://clerk.house.gov/members/index.php.
To find information on contacting your Senators, click here: http://www.senate.gov/general/contac...nators_cfm.cfm.
BACKGROUND: Millions of Medicare beneficiaries rely on Medicaid to fill in the gaps in Medicare, such as coverage for prescription drugs and long-term care. Medicare beneficiaries who are enrolled in Medicaid are generally the lowest-income and sickest seniors and people with disabilities. Under Medicaid's prescription drug coverage, individuals pay no more than $3 per prescription, and they can get any drug that their physician considers medically necessary.
We hear that the Medicare benefit under consideration by the conferees would prohibit states from providing a Medicaid "wrap around" prescription drug benefit to Medicare beneficiaries, thus increasing the amount that these individuals would pay out of pocket per prescription. Moreover, if a medication considered medically necessary by a physician is not covered by the prescription drug plan in which an individual is enrolled, he or she would not be able to get that drug from Medicaid.
This provision would set a bad precedent for Medicaid by eliminating states' ability to fill in gaps in Medicare's coverage for people who are on Medicaid. This will affect not only drug coverage for dual eligibles, but it will also open the door to increasing copayments for all Medicaid beneficiaries and limiting states' ability to provide supplemental coverage to Medicare beneficiaries when a Medicare benefit does not provide enough coverage.
"There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn. This hell of the present is his kingdom at last" ~Camus