Congress can help the elderly

This article was originally posted on Newbury Port News. Read the full article here.

To the editor:

Recent legislation that reduced Medicare Part D prescription costs leaves out similar protections for beneficiaries who wish to be served by Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).

This comes at a time when many seniors as well as state governments are realizing PACE’s potential to change the paradigm of senior care.

It is a technical oversight: PACE does not charge co-pays or deductibles, the expense is entirely based on the overall premium paid by participants.

Legislation before Congress, the PACE Part D Choice Act, would give Medicare beneficiaries in PACE the same Part D cost protections. We urge passage of this bill, which would allow Medicare-only PACE participants to choose a Part D plan.

PACE programs are widely seen as a solution to the crisis of taking care of our seniors. PACE uses an interdisciplinary team approach to keep older Americans with long-term care needs healthy and cared for around the clock, while living independently in their own homes. PACE is more cost-effective than nursing home care and a viable solution for many Medicare beneficiaries.

By securing passage of the PACE Part D Plan Choice bill, Chairman Richard Neal (D-1) and Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-5) can lead our Massachusetts congressional delegation to help Congress finish the job and achieve its goal of reducing the cost of prescription drugs for all individuals covered by Medicare.