Parties Arm For Battle Over Medicare Prescription Drugs
The political battle over a Medicare prescription drug benefit heated up last week as Democrats offered a comprehensive new proposal while Republicans released a series of principles that will form the basis of their plan.
Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., fired the opening salvo with a proposal to provide beneficiaries with a benefit costing $25 per month.
“This proposal covers all the bases,” Graham said. “It is universal, comprehensive, affordable and accessible.”
Under the plan, Medicare beneficiaries would pay a $25 per month premium for a plan in which the Medicare program would pay at least 50% of the cost of prescription medication up to an annual stop-loss level of $4,000. Above $4,000, the program would pay all the remaining costs.
The program contains no caps on benefits and would begin with the first prescription of the year. The plan would provide extra assistance for those with incomes below 150% of the poverty line.
The program would be administered by private sector companies, including health insurers, which would be allowed to use all the methods used in the private sector to manage costs.
The estimated cost of the program is $425 billion over six years.