Part D Drug Plan

NBC News Channel 40 – Atlantic City – Wednesday, July 26, 2006

By Greg Browne

MAYS LANDING — A box of donut holes delivered to a Congressman's office might seem like a publicity stunt.

And for the group, New Jersey Citizen Action, that was the 'whole' idea. Their goal is to urge members of Congress to fix what they say is the broken Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program.

New Jersey Citizen Action organizer Michael Olender elaborates, "its so confusing, instead of giving what seniors and citizens with disabilities have wanted for 40 years, which is a simple, easy to understand, easy to use prescription drug program, instead, they got a vastly confusing program."

The so-called donut hole is essentially a gap in coverage that forces some individuals to pay a substantial amount of prescription cost, out of pocket. This happens (2006) when total drug costs exceed $2,250. When costs reach $5,100., catastrophic coverage kicks in.

Critics of the drug program like Eve Weissman claim that the donut hole will get bigger every year, "people entering the donut hole this year are only going to enter it sooner next year."

Currently, under this program, Medicare does not negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to bring down the cost of drugs, and that critics say is one of the biggest flaws with the new Part D Program.

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