Medicare/Medicaid---Major Loophole

February 21, 2006 -- 5:00 CST

JONESBORO, AR -- The Medicare Part-D Government Program that was established by the federal government to help senior citizens with their prescriptions was a good idea that has gone bad.

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Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln was in Jonesboro Tuesday expressing her concern for the senior citizens and the pharmacists who are going the extra mile to help their customers.


“We tried to warn the administration back in September that our program was not prepared…that they were not prepared,” said Lincoln.


Ken Gibson, of Gibson's Pharmacy of Jonesboro, believes that independent pharmacy owners have bent-over-backwards to help seniors, and it hasn't been easy for them.


“It’s putting a strain on the independent pharmacist,” he said.  “Those of us who own our on stores…we are not getting the reimbursements that we need.”


Monetary reimbursements have been promised from the federal government, and Gibson hasn't seen any "green."


Lincoln said that the reimbursement time for pharmacists who have been filling prescriptions for up to 30 days should be over.


"They can't afford it," she said.


If a new plan is not implemented quickly, it could mean bad news for some seniors.


"We are going to see increased emergency room visits, increased hospitalizations and increased nursing home attendants because these people can't afford to pay out of pocket the entire 100 percent," said Gibson.


Gibson said that there are several gaps and loopholes in the Part-D program that make it unsuccessful.

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