Vermont decides not to recoup some seniors' Medicare Part D rebate checks

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Some low-income seniors in Vermont received good news Monday: State officials said they are giving up in their attempt to collect the $250 Medicare Part D rebate checks.

Vermont officials had said that they would be asking seniors who participate in the state's VPharm program, which helps low-income seniors who fall into the Medicare Part D coverage gap, to hand over their rebate checks to the state. But Gov. Jim Douglas relented Monday afternoon in the face of overwhelming opposition to the idea from seniors, senators and the Obama administration. The logistical problems involved in getting the seniors to hand over the money also proved daunting, according to local news reports.

Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had both asked Douglas to reconsider the rebate recoupment. After state officials relented, Leahy praised the governor, calling the decision “fair and practical,” The Associated Press reported. Douglas, meanwhile, said low-income seniors essentially would be receiving Part D assistance twice.