TRENTON – Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex, the Chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and a leading advocate of providing comprehensive prescription drug benefits for the State’s seniors and disabled individuals, made the following statement today after NJ Citizen Action released a report on the shortcomings of the Federal Medicare Part D prescription drug program:
“Today’s report by Citizen Action just adds more evidence to what I and other proponents of prescription drug coverage for seniors have been saying for months – Medicare Part D is broken.
“The coverage gap that most participants will be facing – the so-called ‘donut hole’ – is an inherent flaw in the system that threatens the health and well-being of our seniors and will ultimately cost taxpayers more to provide care to people covered by Medicare.
“Comprehensive prescription drug coverage, just like coverage for preventative care, serves a means of reducing health care costs for everyone, as it provides a relatively low cost alternative to extensive hospital stays. By limiting benefits in the way Part D does, it discourages seniors from following their doctors’ orders and filling all prescriptions.
“It’s been shown that capping prescription drug benefits decreases life spans and costs insurance providers more money in the end. Congress needs to rethink this short-sighted design and work to fix the flaws in the system before too many more seniors are harmed both financially and medically.”