From The Office of Congressman Jeb Bradley
(Washington, D.C.) - First District Congressman Jeb Bradley has introduced legislation in the House of Representatives that will eliminate barriers in the law that preclude the federal government from reimbursing New Hampshire and other states for emergency expenditures for Medicare Part D. Approximately 27 states across the country have had to appropriate funds to cover transitional prescription drug coverage for low-income Medicare beneficiaries experiencing billing problems at their local pharmacies as a result of being transferred to the newly-implemented Medicare prescription drug plans.
"I am encouraged by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid's (CMS) willingness to work with the Medicare plans to ensure that New Hampshire and other states are reimbursed for their efforts. However, legislation is still needed to permit the federal government to directly reimburse the states if need be and assure New Hampshire and other states that CMS will still be financially involved in the reimbursement process in the future if necessary."
Specifically, Bradley's legislation will grant the Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to reimburse states for emergency expenditures made to cover the prescription drugs of Medicare Part D beneficiaries. Under current law, the federal government does not have the authority to make a direct payment to states under the Medicare program. Although CMS has stated that it will work with the individual Medicare plans to ensure that states are reimbursed, Bradley's legislation goes one step further and enables the federal governmentto pay back states for any costs, should the federal government need the authority to do so now or in the future.
Bradley is also investigating other areas of the Medicare prescription drug benefit that may require additional reform. Bradley has sent a letter to CMS Administrator Mark McClellan asking for a regulatory change that would give nursing home providers and consulting pharmacists the ability to provide advice and assistance regarding the benefit to residents with cognitive impairments. Currently, these professionals are prohibited from assisting residents in selecting and enrolling in a plan.
"I will continue to look at implementation issues and introduce further legislation if necessary," stated Bradley.