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Your Opinion: Reauthorize MO Rx program

Your Opinion: Reauthorize MO Rx program

April 29th, 2011 by Craig Eichelman, senior state director, AARP Missouri in News

Dear Editor:

As Missouri searches for efficiencies in government to manage within its means, it's frightening to witness the dismantling of a program that's actually working to help senior Missourians. We can do better.

The Missouri Rx program is the only program that helps 207,000 seniors and individuals with a disability meet the high costs of prescription drugs. MO Rx expires on August 28, 2011, and must be reauthorized to continue beyond that point. Although the House funded MO Rx, the Senate cut funding for the program.

The MO Rx program pays 50 percent of out-of-pocket costs for medications covered by the Medicare Part D plan. This benefit is particularly important when beneficiaries reach the doughnut hole (coverage gap) in Medicare.

So what is the controversy? Somewhere in the debate the program was misunderstood as a duplicative program - that seniors needing assistance could get it elsewhere. The fact is MO Rx does not duplicate any prescription drug benefits by any other agency or private insurance policy.

The House and Senate will meet to iron out differences in the budget bills to restore funding. AARP wishes to encourage the conference committee to support Missouri seniors by reauthorizing the MO Rx program.

It's a program that delivers real help for seniors struggling with the costs of lifesaving medications.