Governor Applauds Federal Government for Finally Agreeing To Ensure States 'Receive Payment For Medicare Part D Costs;

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CONCORD - Gov. John Lynch today applauded the federal government for reversing its position and finally agreeing to ensure that states are reimbursed for their Medicare Part D costs, but expressed serious concerns about the federal government ' s deadline of Feb. 15th for ending the state ' s back-up coverage.

" This is a federal program, and the federal government has a responsibility to fix it and to pay for the problems it has caused. I am pleased that the federal government has finally recognized that, " Gov. Lynch said.

" The disastrous launch of the new federal prescription program jeopardized the health and safety of our citizens. In New Hampshire, we were not going to risk the health of our citizens. We acted to make sure our seniors still could get the medication that they need, " Gov. Lynch said.

" I am deeply concerned, however, that the federal government is setting a Feb. 15th deadline to stop reimbursing states for this coverage. New Hampshire citizens are still having problems with getting their medications through Medicare Part D, and they are still relying on the state ' s emergency coverage. The federal government should not set a deadline until they can prove that everyone who is eligible can actually get their prescriptions when they need them, " Gov. Lynch said.

Gov. Lynch issued an Executive Order on Jan. 6 and the New Hampshire legislature passed a bill on Jan. 10th to guarantee prescription drug coverage for people known as " dual eligibles, " people who were receiving prescription drug coverage through the state until the launch of Medicare Part D on Jan. 1.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services originally said it would not guarantee that states would receive reimbursement for prescription or administrative costs. Today, Mark McClellan, head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, announced in a call with states that the federal government was reversing its position.

McClellan also said that the federal government was setting a deadline of Feb. 15th to end state programs to ensure that eligible people can still get their prescriptions.