News Releases

Murray Pushes for Vote to Close the Medicare Part D "Donut Hole" that Affects 159,000 Washington State Seniors

Mar 24 2010

Urges support for bill that would provide seniors with help purchasing prescription drugs right away

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) urged her colleagues to support the legislation being considered that would provide seniors with half-price brand name prescriptions drugs, a $250 rebate on 2010 drug costs, and that would finally close the Medicare Part D “donut hole” that 159,000 Washington state seniors fall into every year.

"I have heard too many stories from seniors across Washington state about the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs and the tough choices they had to make after falling  into the Medicare Part D ‘donut hole,’” said Senator Patty Murray. “No senior should ever have to worry about not being able to afford the prescription drugs they need to stay healthy, and I am so glad that this bill closes the ‘donut hole’ once and for all. I urge Republicans to put politics aside, drop their process-based obstructionist tactics, and help seniors in Washington state and across the country get the care they deserve.”

The “donut hole” is the gap between the initial prescription drug coverage limit and the catastrophic limit under Medicare Part D. After a senior goes beyond the initial drug coverage limit, they are financially responsible for the entire cost of prescription drugs up until the catastrophic coverage threshold.

If this bill passes, in order to have their drugs covered under the Medicare Part D program, drug manufacturers would have to provide a 50% discount to Part D beneficiaries for brand-name drugs purchased during the coverage gap.  The bill also provides a $250 rebate for all Medicare Part D enrollees who enter the “donut hole” in 2010. And it begins the work of closing the “donut hole” completely by 2020.

Senator Murray voted against the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill in 2003 and has consistently pushed to close the “donut hole” that affects so many Washington state seniors. Murray has also been a leader in the Senate in protecting seniors from many of this law’s other flaws.