Merkley Highlights Rising Prescription Drug Costs for Oregon Seniors

Medford, OR – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley continued his statewide tour of Oregon to highlight the very real impacts that the recently passed Senate budget will have on Oregonians and the need for a different approach that puts the middle class first. Merkley visited the Oak Valley Community in Talent to discuss how the Senate budget would re-open the Medicare ‘donut hole’ and increase prescription drug costs for seniors.

“It’s hard to believe there are those in Washington who want to re-open the Medicare ‘donut hole’ and make it harder for over 52,000 Oregon seniors to get affordable prescription drugs,” said Merkley. “We need a budget that works for Oregon seniors, not just the very wealthy and well-connected, and this Senate budget obviously fails that test.”

Under the Republican budget passed last week by the Senate, which Senator Merkley voted against, over 52,000 Oregon seniors would pay more for prescription drugs next year. The budget would re-open the “donut hole,” forcing seniors to pay the full cost of their prescription drugs if their yearly drug expenses are more than $2,960 for the year.

Additionally, almost 480,000 Oregon seniors would be forced to pay for preventive health services. The budget passed by the Senate would repeal health reform which provides for free preventive services under Medicare. Under the Senate budget, seniors would be required to pay deductibles, co-insurance, and copayments for certain services, including cancer screenings and annual wellness visits.

“If we’re committed to making America work for working Americans,” Merkley continued, “we can’t go back to forcing retirees and their families to choose between medications and other basic needs. We need to make smarter choices. We need to put the success of working families first again.”