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Tonko-Pappas Bill to Help Low-Income Seniors Afford Prescriptions Advances to House Floor

Energy & Commerce Committee adds legislation to House Democrats’ legislative package to lower prescription drug costs

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Washington, October 18, 2019 | comments

WASHINGTON—Legislation introduced by U.S. Representatives Paul Tonko (NY-20) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) to expand low-income senior’s access to prescription drugs under the Medicare prescription drug benefit program, also known as Medicare Part D, was passed through committee last night as an important addition to the House’s H.R. 3: the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019. Their legislation, the Advancing Enrollment and Reducing Drug Costs Act of 2019, will expand low-income senior’s access to prescription drugs under the Medicare prescription drug benefit program, also known as Medicare Part D.

“Low-income seniors are the first to suffer each time a pharmaceutical company hikes the price of medication they depend on. That’s why Congress created a support program that makes it easier for our low-income senior population to afford the prescriptions they need,” said Congressman Tonko. “Unfortunately many seniors are not aware of this impactful, compassionate program or the fact that they would benefit greatly from enrolling in it. Our legislation simplifies that process to automatically enroll certain seniors as soon as they become Medicare eligible. This will help our seniors afford their needed medication and save lives and improving their livelihood in the process.”

“Across the district, I hear from seniors about the significant burden and anxiety caused by the exorbitant costs of prescription drugs,” said Congressman Pappas. “The Advancing Enrollment and Reducing Drug Costs Act will help ease this burden by cutting through the red tape and ensuring our low-income seniors receive the support they need after a lifetime of hard work. We should be doing everything in our power to ensure our seniors have access to life-saving medications, not make them jump through hoops.”

Subsidies for low-income seniors under Medicare Part D were created to help qualifying seniors afford their prescription drugs despite sky-rocketing costs. However, current law does not automatically enroll eligible seniors who previously qualified under Medicaid Expansion, leaving thousands of seniors struggling to access life-saving prescription drugs unaware they are eligible for assistance. This legislation remedies this by helping seniors cut through the red tape and automatically enrolling individuals who aged out of Medicaid Expansion and into Medicare. 

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