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Medicare to Reimburse States for Part D Glitches

States will soon be able to file reimbursement claims for expenses they incurred supplying Medicare recipients with medications during the launch of the federal government’s Medicare Part D drug program in January. As that plan was rolled out, many Medicare recipients found themselves unable to fill their prescriptions at pharmacy counters across the nation. Enrollment confusion and computer glitches were the main sources of the problems.

Reportedly, over 40 states picked up the bill under existing Medicaid drug programs for citizens who were dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.  Consultants estimate that the cost could easily reach into the billions of dollars.

New Jersey’s Governor John Corzine said that state has spent nearly $50 million "backstopping" Medicare Part D. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that, by the end of January, New York state had spent $80 million to cover “dual eligibles.”

President Bush defended the Medicare Part D program, glitches and all, in his weekly radio address this past weekend. On Monday, the Democratic staff of the House of Representatives Government Reform Committee released a report which found that prices for a number of prescription drugs rose during the program's first seven weeks.

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