Legislature Approves Emergency Prescription Drug Benefits

George Winner

January 25, 2006

Albany, N.Y.-- State Senator George H. Winner, Jr. (R-C, Elmira) today said that the Legislature has approved legislation he co-sponsors to continue providing emergency prescription drug coverage through New York's Medicaid program for elderly and disabled individuals wrongfully denied access to coverage under the federal government's new Medicare Part D program.

"We can't leave anyone at risk during this transition to Medicare Part D. This legislation will continue to ensure that no one goes without coverage," said Winner, a member of the Senate Health Committee. "New York State isn't responsible for the difficulties of this transition to a new federal prescription drug program, but we need to continue to join our pharmacists, local agencies on the aging, advocates and others to help protect our citizens during the transition."

In the wake of recent confusion and problems created by the newly implemented federal Medicare prescription drug program (Medicare Part D), Governor George Pataki issued temporary Medicaid coverage for any elderly and disabled New Yorkers who were being wrongfully denied access to their prescription medicines. The approved legislation would ensure that New York State continues to step in and pay drug claims for disabled and low-income elderly citizens until problems with the federal program are fixed. Once the problems are corrected, the state will seek reimbursement from the federal government.