First Signs Of Healthcare Reform Coming This Week | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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First Signs Of Healthcare Reform Coming This Week

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By Matt Bush

Some seniors will begin seeing the first stages of the nation's health care overhaul this week.

President Obama went to Montgomery County, Maryland this morning to defend the program. At the Holiday Senior Center in Wheaton, Maryland, Obama spoke with seniors in part about the so-called "doughnut hole" in Medicare drug coverage.

This week, Medicare recipients whose prescription drug costs exceed $2,800 will receive checks from the federal government for $250. The checks are part of an attempt to close that "doughnut hole," which won't be completely eliminated under the health care overhaul until 2020.

Mary Kay Krangel of Arlington, Virginia just signed up for Medicare. She thanked the president for the $250 check, but still wasn't satisfied.

"My concern is it's taking so long," says Krangel. "Why ten years to close the hole completely?"

The president's answer: money.

"For us to close that right away, it would've blown a hole through the budget" President Obama said. "So, essentially what we said is how do we provide some immediate assistance to seniors who are falling into the doughnut hole."

Starting next year, Medicare recipients who's drug costs exceed $2,800 will receive a 50 percent discount on their medicine.

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