Carper, Cassidy, Blumenauer, and Wenstrup Introduce Bill to Cut Prescription Drug Costs for Seniors

Senators’ legislation would save older Americans thousands of dollars

U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) and Brad Wenstrup (OH-02) introduced the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) Part D Choice Act. This bipartisan legislation would allow Medicare-only PACE participants to choose between the PACE Part D plan, as currently designed, or a standalone Medicare Part D plan, offering older Americans significant cost savings. Part D choice would allow seniors to choose the plan that works for them, without incurring unfairly high Part D premiums.

“Everyone deserves a fair choice when it comes to health care and we must ensure that access to this choice is affordable,” said Senator Carper. “The PACE Part D Choice Act would give seniors the option to choose a cost-efficient plan that will provide them with the care they need.”

“PACE patients should have the same access to lower premiums and affordable prescription drugs as those in other Medicare programs,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This will lead to better health outcomes for seniors with chronic illness.”

“No one should have to choose between the benefits of the PACE program and being able to afford prescription coverage,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “Oregonians have seen firsthand how beneficial PACE is, having been served by one of the largest programs in the country since 1990. This legislation offers a commonsense solution to help more Americans afford PACE. I look forward to working with Rep. Wenstrup and Senators Carper and Cassidy on this important issue.”

“As a physician, I know how important affordable access to needed prescriptions is for patient health outcomes. The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) allows seniors to have access to the care and services they need while they remain in their community. This legislation will allow PACE participants to access more affordable drug plans that could save them several hundred dollars a month. I’m glad to work with my colleagues to reintroduce this bipartisan legislation, and I urge Congress to pass this bill so that seniors in the PACE program can benefit from more affordable prescription options,” said Rep. Brad Wenstrup.

Currently, PACE participants must enroll in the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan offered by their PACE program instead of PACE participants having the ability to choose a more affordable, alternative stand-alone Part D plan. This bill would enable Medicare-only participants and future Medicare beneficiaries to have access to a more affordable PACE plan that could save them nearly $1,000 a month.

As a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Carper has been a leader in the fight to lower health care costs. He has repeatedly advocated for legislation that would increase access and affordability for older Americans to ensure that everyone ages with dignity. Recently, Senator Carper announced new grant funding to support organizations in Delaware like Habitat for Humanity, that focus on at-home services for older adults.

The full bill text is available here.