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Kelly, Schneider Introduce Legislation to Help Low-Income Seniors Afford Prescription Drugs

Medicare Extra Rx HELP Act would streamline Part D Low-Income Subsidy eligibility

Washington, D.C.-(ENEWSPF)- U.S. Representatives Robin Kelly (IL-02) and Brad Schneider (IL-10) introduced legislation last Thursday to help low-income seniors and people with disabilities better afford prescription drugs through Medicare Part D.

H.R. 4583, The Medicare Extra Rx HELP (Higher Eligibility Limits in Part D) Act would streamline and expand the Part D Low-Income Subsidy (also known as “Extra Help”) to help more Americans access the benefit. Specifically, Schneider and Kelly’s legislation would:

  • Eliminate the burdensome asset verification requirement, which creates a significant barrier to entry to the program and is difficult to administer; and
  • Extend full Extra Help benefits to Medicare-eligible seniors and people with disabilities living below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Line.

“Affording prescription medicines, especially as we get older, is vital to our physical and financial health. Sadly, I hear from too many of my constituents, especially seniors, that they are forced to choose between lifesaving medicine and everyday necessities. This is wrong,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust. “This legislation will assist older Americans and those living with disabilities in affording their medications. I, like my colleagues, remain committed to taking bold action to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, ensure access to care and more rapidly allow lower-cost generic drugs to come to market.”

“Prescription drugs are a growing financial burden for all Americans, but in particular for countless seniors and others living on a fixed income,” said Congressman Brad Schneider. “Our legislation would help more older Americans and those with disabilities access the Extra Help benefits that were created to help. Financial barriers should never prevent Americans from getting the care they need, and I will continue to work to lower the out-of-pocket cost of prescription medication.”

Companion legislation, S.691, was introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA).

Full text of the legislation is available here, online.

The Medicare Extra Rx HELP Act is supported by the following organizations:

  • Aging Life Care Association
  • Alliance for Retired Americans
  • American Geriatrics Society (AGS)
  • Autism Society
  • Brain Injury Association of America
  • Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc.
  • Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)
  • Epilepsy Foundation
  • Justice in Aging
  • Medicare Rights Center
  • National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA)
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • National Association of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs (NASOP)
  • National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM)
  • National Council on Aging (NCOA)
  • National Disability Rights Network
  • National Health Law Program (NHeLP)

This is news from Congresswoman Robin Kelly’s office.

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