Cardin amendment would work to expand assisted living residents' access to prescription drugs

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Assisted living providers and advocates are cheering this week after Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced an amendment to the healthcare reform bill that seeks to improve some assisted living residents' access to Medicare Part D prescription drug program and Medicaid benefits.

One provision in the Senate healthcare bill, Section 3309, would eliminate Medicare Part D co-pays for individuals dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid who receive care through state Medicaid waivers. Assisted living organizations, including the National Center for Assisted Living, say some individuals receiving benefits directly through state Medicaid plans are left out under Section 3309. Cardin introduced an amendment Monday to investigate ways to solve that problem.

Cardin's amendment would establish two studies. The first would analyze whether dual-eligible individuals residing in community-based settings, whose Medicare Part D co-pays are not covered under Sect. 3309, have income levels, prescription drug requirements, and types and levels of disability that are comparable to those for whom cost-sharing is eliminated. The second would evaluate Supplemental Security Income (SSI) as a means of paying for assisted living, and explore possible funding alternatives.


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