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Close the Medicare Part D Doughnut Hole

The recently passed Affordable Care Act reaffirms our nation’s commitment to Medicare by strengthening the program’s prescription drug benefit—in particular, by reducing prescription drug costs for Medicare Part D enrollees who reach a gap in their drug coverage. This year, the program provides Part D beneficiaries with partial rebates. These discounts are the first step toward closing the so-called “doughnut hole” that affects millions of program enrollees.

But opponents of the new reform law are prepared to eliminate this new help and require millions of seniors and people with disabilities who enter the doughnut hole to pay on average an additional $500 for their prescription drugs in 2011. People with very high drug needs would pay even more—up to $1,500 in additional out-of-pocket costs on average in 2011.

The Affordable Care Act closes the dreaded doughnut hole and will result in better health care outcomes, which is in keeping with 45 years of commitments to older and disabled Americans.

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