Doing What's Right for Pennsylvania's Seniors
By Congressman Joseph R. Pitts
To hear the critics you might think that helping senior citizens pay for their prescriptions is a lousy idea. In fact, although we are in the middle of open season for the Medicare drug discount cards, it looks more like "open season" for critics of Medicare.
What critics fail to mention is that when the full prescription drug benefit starts, about 594,562 low-income Pennsylvania seniors will be eligible to participate with no premium and no deductible, full coverage and never having to pay more than $5 for any prescription. Another 167,781 are expected to get the same full coverage and cut-rate deductibles. Medicare will replace Medicaid for 255,476 Pennsylvanians, and they will pay $1 for generic drugs. All told, in 20 months roughly 2.4 million Pennsylvanians will gain access to a prescription drug plan that doesn't exist today.
The new prescription drug program does require an individual decision. You have the opportunity to choose what product is best for you. Seniors can shop and compare, but the first choice is easy - if you like the Medicare coverage you have, just stick with it. Nobody says you have to change anything. If you decide that a discount card is best for you, you can sign-up right now. The cards will be available in June. They won't cost more than $30, and they'll save a minimum of 10 to 15 percent on prescriptions.
The drug discount card program brings the very best of our health care system home to seniors - transparency and competition. These two characteristics of the discount card program are continuing to lower prices, which will result in significant savings for seniors. You don't have to rely on a politician or an insurance company or a doctor to tell you what effect these cards would have on your coverage, you can see for yourself by visiting the Medicare website (