Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Democratic Lawmakers Make Case for State Fix

Federal Drug Plan may throw state budget off by millions

AUGUSTA—Democratic lawmakers held a press conference with Maine Senior Citizens on February 7th to highlight two key bills designed to help Maine Seniors receive the prescription drugs they need following problems that have occurred with the launch of the new federal Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
The Medicare Part D Federal Drug Plan was supposed to provide elderly seniors with low-cost prescription drugs replacing MaineCare benefits and programs like the elderly low-cost drug program. But for many, the federal plan has not worked or vital prescription drugs have not been covered by the private insurers.
The Democratic Lawmakers also pointed out that they have been told by Federal Medicare Administrators that they will likely not receive millions of dollars in reimbursements for the prescription drugs the state has been covering until after the end of the state’s fiscal year. That means the state could be short millions of dollars as it works on its final supplemental budget for the fiscal year.
Since the launch of the federal drug plan, Maine has spent between $200,000 to $500,000 a day to cover problems associated with Medicare Pt D sponsored by the federal government and national drug companies.

In related news...
More than 20 state legislators from across the country recently met at the National Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Prices Conference in New York City and voted unanimously to support a motion to urge Congress to remake the Medicare drug benefit. The proposal calls for the feds to make it simpler and have it be administered directly by the Department of Health and Human Services. The details of the legislators’ Part D replacement plan will be discussed further at its spring meeting.


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