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Sebelius urges Vermont not to cut state benefits for Medicare ‘doughnut hole’

The health reform law’s $250 rebate checks for seniors with high
prescription costs was “intended to provide fiscal relief to seniors,
not states,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said
in a letter sent Friday to Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas (R).

Sebelius urged
Douglas to rethink his plan to reduce state benefits to seniors who are
eligible for the federal rebates.

Vermont has a program, called VPharm, that provides supplemental
pharmaceutical coverage for low-income seniors who aren’t eligible for
Medicaid assistance. The cash-strapped state has decided to recoup the
$250 its seniors are getting from the federal government. 
The first rebate checks were mailed this week, to about 80,000
seniors who have fallen into the so-called “doughnut hole” where they
have to pay the full cost of their prescription drugs under Medicare.
The rebates are the first step towards closing the “doughnut hole,” and
are expected to be one of the most popular measures in the new health
reform law. 
“Seniors who enter the ‘donut hole’ have serious illnesses, take
more medication, and need additional financial help,” Sebelius wrote.
Tags Kathleen Sebelius

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