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Stabenow: Give Seniors the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit They Deserve

Location: Flint, MI

Stabenow: Give Seniors the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit They Deserve

Senator highlights problems with Medicare prescription drug program, will offer legislation to give seniors a real choice

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today visited a local pharmacy to discuss problems with the new Medicare prescription drug program and called for immediate changes to help seniors and people with disabilities get the medications they need. To ensure that seniors have access to lifesaving medicines at reasonable prices, Stabenow will introduce legislation to offer a streamlined, user-friendly prescription drug benefit administered directly through Medicare. Senator Stabenow was joined by area seniors and health care professionals who voiced their concerns about the new prescription drug program.

"This new Medicare prescription drug program is providing more headaches than help," said Stabenow. "Instead of lower prices and easy access to medicine, this program has created confusion and chaos for seniors, people with disabilities and health care professionals."

"I have received thousands of calls and letters from people across Michigan about the trouble they are having with the new program," Stabenow said. "And while the Administration must take action to fix these problems, the one choice that seniors want is the one choice they don't have - a comprehensive, affordable prescription drug benefit administered by Medicare."

Stabenow will offer legislation that will allow seniors to bypass the many new private insurance plans currently being offered and instead choose to receive their prescription drug benefit through the traditional Medicare program.

The Stabenow bill will establish a standard benefit with a modest deductible and co-payments for prescriptions, without any gaps in coverage. The benefit would also provide protection for seniors against drug costs above $5,100 per year. All seniors choosing the Medicare-guaranteed option would pay a low, uniform monthly premium, regardless of where they live.

By instructing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate prices directly with pharmaceutical companies on behalf of those enrolled in the Medicare-guaranteed option, Stabenow's legislation will help lower prescription drug costs. Negotiating group prices will result in lower prices for seniors and savings for taxpayers.

"It's time to step up and give seniors the prescription drug benefit they deserve - one that works for them, not against them," said Stabenow.

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