Today, U.S. Representative Kathy Castor proposed an amendment to the Republican Budget to protect Medicare benefits for seniors. Castor sought to preserve improvements in Medicare benefits that have been in place for two years under the Affordable Care Act, including closure of the prescription drug coverage gap (donut hole), coverage of key preventive services and annual wellness visits with no co-pays or deductibles.
"The Republicans propose to raise the cost of prescription drugs for seniors and slash the smart new benefits and popular consumer reforms that have been in place for two years now," Castor said during debate on the amendment. "Congressional Republicans should not roll back these reforms that have improved the lives of our older neighbors."
"My amendment would continue to close the donut hole and put money back into the pocket of our older neighbors," Castor continued. "It would retain the important new screenings that are saving lives. And it would retain the annual wellness visit that has become very popular and is very smart policy."
Under the Affordable Care Act, in Florida's 11th district, over 6,000 seniors have received the prescription drug discount and 70,000 seniors have received preventative screenings with no co-pay.
The Castor amendment would have protected benefits already being enjoyed by seniors today. It was defeated along party lines by a vote of 21-15.