Leavitt Discusses Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, Other Issues in Utah
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on Tuesday said that states should not expect additional financial assistance with the cost of the 2003 Medicare law, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
At a meeting with seniors and others in Salt Lake City to promote the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, Leavitt addressed concerns from Utah Health Director David Sundwall that the state expects to lose $13 million under the "clawback" provision of the Medicare law. Under the provision, Medicare will assume the prescription drug costs for state residents dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, but states will have to pay the federal government as much as 90% of the funds that they would have spent on Medicaid coverage for medications for dual eligibles.
Leavitt said that he will work with states to address concerns but added that the Bush administration has no plans to revise the provision. "Frankly, I have yet to see a state that loses money on it," he said.
At the meeting, Leavitt also faced "many pointed questions" from seniors and a group of disabled Utah residents who oppose the planned Medicaid cuts. A group of residents with disabilities also picketed outside the meeting to protest plans by the Bush administration to eliminate $10 billion in Medicaid spending over five years, the Tribune reports (Stewart/Peterson, Salt Lake Tribune, 8/17).
Additional information on the Medicare drug benefit is available online.