Cassidy introduces bipartisan bill to help senior citizens pay for prescription drugs

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) recently unveiled the Seniors Prescription Drug Relief Act of 2019 to help America’s senior citizens pay for their medications.

“As a doctor, ensuring patients can afford their care is a top priority,” Sen. Cassidy said. “This bill improves the Senate’s legislation to lower drug prices and eases the burden on seniors struggling to pay for their medication.”

Sen. Cassidy on Nov. 20 sponsored S. 2911 with bill cosponsor U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to provide a monthly out-of-pocket cost-sharing maximum for enrollees who incur a significant portion of costs for covered Medicare Part D drugs toward the annual out-of-pocket threshold during a month, according to the text of the bill.

A drug legislative package recently passed out of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee would set a limit on the yearly dollar amount a patient would be required to pay out of pocket, according to information provided by Sen. Cassidy’s office, which noted that S. 2911 would permit seniors who reach that limit early to spread out their payments over the entire year.

“Not only do we need to cap seniors’ costs under Medicare Part D, we need to make sure that patients who rely on expensive medications don’t get saddled with an unaffordable prescription drug bill at the start of every year,” said Sen. Menendez. “No senior should have to face a choice between paying a massive prescription drug bill up-front and all at once or forgoing their prescribed medication because they can’t.”

The National Health Council, a patient-advocacy organization, endorsed S. 2911, but remains “concerned that some people will still not be able to afford their copays and deductibles if the costs all occur in the early part of the year,” said Marc Boutin, the council’s CEO.

“This important piece of legislation would greatly help people with chronic conditions manage the costs of their care,” Boutin said.

Other groups supporting S. 2911 are the American Lung Association, the Arthritis Foundation, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Lupus Foundation, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the AIDS Institute, and Susan G. Komen.