Democrats, Republicans spar over Medicare fixes |

Democrats, Republicans spar over Medicare fixes

WASHINGTON – It is unacceptable that some of the poorest and sickest older people are having the most trouble getting prescription drugs through the new Medicare benefit, a leading Republican senator said Thursday.But Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, does not see the need for legislative fixes yet.”Let’s focus on the administrative remedies now because they will deliver help a lot faster than any legislation,” he said.Several Democratic senators said too many people have had trouble getting their medicine since the benefit went into effect on Jan. 1,Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., took issue with Grassley’s opinion that it was too early for Congress to intervene.”It’s always premature. It was premature that the Titanic went down. But it did indeed disappear,” Rockefeller said.The Democrats are sponsoring legislation that would:-require all prescription drug plans to provide new enrollees with at least 30 days of prescription drugs. This is what the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services already have told plans they must do.-provide federal reimbursement for states, pharmacies and beneficiaries for out-of-pocket costs because the new benefit has failed to cover those costs.-reduce wait times on calls to 1-800-Medicare.Vail, Colorado

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