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Baca Announces: One Million Medicare Beneficiaries Have Now Received 'Donut Hole' Rebate Checks

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Over 102,000 Californians Have Received $250 Rebate Thanks to Health Care Reform

Today, Rep. Joe Baca (D-Rialto) announced that more than one million seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries have now received "donut hole' checks to begin to close their prescription drug coverage gap. The fourth round of checks since health reform took effect has gone out over the last few days. Under the Affordable Care Act, seniors whose prescription drug costs are so high that they fall in the Medicare prescription drug "donut hole' coverage gap in 2010 are receiving this one-time tax-free $250 rebate check--and the gap will be closed fully over ten years.

These checks are being mailed out every few weeks, as an estimated one in 10 seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries hit the "donut hole' coverage gap created by President Bush's prescription drug reforms. Experts estimate that a total of 4 million seniors will receive a "donut hole' check over the next several months.

"Seniors who find themselves in the Medicare donut hole too often are forced to choose between paying for the medications they need and meeting their basic living expenses," said Rep. Baca. "Thanks to the leadership of President Obama and Congress, more than one million seniors and disabled Americans, including over 102,000 in the state of California, have already received donut hole rebate checks. The Affordable Care Act passed into law earlier this year will finally end the prescription drug donut hole, so senior citizens will be able to afford the medications necessary for their care."

The new health care reform law begins to close the Medicare donut hole once and for all with the distribution of rebate checks this year. Significant savings will continue next year, when the law provides a 50 percent discount on brand name drugs for seniors in the gap, and a smaller discount on generic drugs. Under the new law, the donut hole will be completely closed by 2020.

Making prescription drugs more affordable for seniors is only one of the many benefits for seniors included in the recently enacted health reform law. Other benefits include:

* Free preventive care services for all Medicare recipients beginning in 2011;
* Extending Medicare solvency by an additional 12 years -- to 2029;
* Improving seniors' access to doctors; and
* Lowering Medicare costs by reducing waste, fraud and abuse.

"With the implementation of the provisions of health care reform, we are making quality, affordable care a right for every American," concluded Rep. Baca. "Republicans who continue to call for a repeal of health reform oppose this life-saving assistance and want to return us to a system of higher drug costs, shrinking benefits, and greater insecurity for America's senior citizens. I will continue to fight in Congress to protect the interests of all Americans, especially seniors and our most vulnerable populations."

For more information about the "donut hole' rebate checks, contact or call 1-800-MEDICARE.

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