The high cost of prescription drugs in the United States continues to burden many Americans, and particularly senior citizens. I supported adding prescription drugs to Medicare because no senior should ever have to choose between purchasing food or lifesaving medications.
Sometimes seniors ask me why so many prescription drug plans have been made available under Medicare Part D as there are more 500 prescription drug plans nationwide and over 40 plans in Montana alone. The answer is that we want to provide seniors with choices. One goal of the Medicare Modernization Act was to give seniors enough options to ensure they can find plans which cover their drugs and allow them to continue to use their local pharmacies.
So far, choice and competition among plans is working. Beneficiary premiums are now expected to average $25 per month, down from prior estimates of $37 per month. A one-size-fits-all approach would be a disservice to seniors who rely on prescription drugs, which is why there is an array of benefits, premiums, co-pays, deductibles, and drug lists.
The launch of this benefit was the largest government program shift since the creation of Medicare in 1967. There have been some glitches in the start-up process, but the Department of Health and Human Service and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid are working to address these problems. As your Congressman I will continue to work to ensure that Montana seniors have access to the prescription drugs they need.