Seniors Struggle With Drug Costs While Congress Debates Medicare 'Doughnut Hole"

Minnesota Public Radio reports: "Since 2006, senior citizens have been able to choose plans for Medicare prescription drug coverage, but that coverage contains a gap known as the 'doughnut hole,' a gap that health care reform plans being debated in Congress would address."

"Under the House health care bill, Medicare would eliminate the gap within a decade. The House bill would also require the Health and Human Services Secretary to negotiate prices directly with drug companies. There are no such provisions in the Senate proposals but a final Senate bill isn't written yet. ... Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found about 15 percent of senior citizens who fell into the gap stopped taking their medicines, particularly if they were name-brand drugs. The study's lead researcher Yuting Zhang said once seniors hit the gap, they hardly ever get out" (Stawicki, 11/18).

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