Press Release             

Contact: Akiko Takano
Deputy Director of Communications

June 22, 2009

Statement by Medicare Rights Center President Joe Baker on President Obama’s Announcement of a New Discount Program in the Part D Doughnut Hole, or Coverage Gap

New York, NY—Today’s announcement by President Obama provides new hope to more than 3 million people with Medicare whose need for expensive prescription medicines pushes them each year into the Part D doughnut hole, forcing them to pay the full price for these drugs. A discount of 50 percent in the coverage gap will mean that more older adults and people with disabilities will be able to continue taking their medicine as prescribed by their doctor instead of choosing which drug they can “afford” to take, a choice that can endanger the lives of people with diabetes and heart ailments, and other chronic conditions. As always, the devil is in the details. We look forward to working with President Obama and the Congress to making the promised discount most useful.

The Medicare Rights Center believes the immediate assistance provided by the discount* complements the proposal to completely phase out the Part D doughnut hole included in the health reform legislation drafted by the chairmen of the three House committees. Full coverage of both brand-name and generic drugs is the best way to ensure people with Medicare can afford the medicines they need.

* projected to start in July 2010

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Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs, and public policy initiatives.


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