Republican Budget Would Roll Back ‘Donut Hole’ Fix; New Reform That Just Took Effect Provides 50% Discount To Seniors Who Hit Gap In Medicare Drug Coverage
New State-By-State Report Outlines Devastating Immediate Impact On Nation’s Seniors—Next Year Alone, Seniors Currently In Donut Hole Would Pay An Additional $2.2 Billion For Prescription Drugs
Senators: ‘Extreme GOP Budget Proposal Would Start Hurting Seniors From Day One’
Washington, D.C. – Today, Senate Democrats released a new report outlining how the House Republicans’ FY2012 budget proposal will begin harming seniors immediately if passed into law. This contradicts GOP claims that the budget does not affect Medicare for anyone 55 or older.
If the budget—drafted by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI)—is enacted into law, it will cost the average senior who currently falls into the “donut hole” approximately $11,794 between 2012 and 2020, according to a report issued by the Department of Health and Human Services. In all, Ryan’s budget will cost seniors an estimated $44 billion in prescription drug costs over that period, including $2.2 billion next year alone. In 2010, approximately 3.7 million seniors fell into the “donut hole.”
“If Congressman Ryan’s budget plan were to be enacted into law, it would immediately hurt senior citizens currently enrolled in Medicare,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of the Democratic Policy and Communications Center. “The oft-repeated talking point that the Republican budget won’t impact current enrollees is simply not true.”
The Republican budget plan would repeal parts of the federal health care law, including measures to close the “donut hole.” Health reform fixed a deficiency in the Medicare prescription drug program by addressing the gap in Medicare Part D that had forced beneficiaries to pay 100 percent of their drug costs after they exceeded an initial coverage limit and until they qualified for catastrophic coverage. That gap in coverage—which totaled $3,610 in 2010—has existed since the drug benefit’s creation in 2006.
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed by President Obama in March 2010, seniors who get stuck in the “donut hole” will now see the costs of their brand name drugs discounted by 50 percent, phasing out the “donut hole” completely over the next ten years.
The DPPC projections for this report used data from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).