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Sen. Feinstein Wants Reimbursement for State’s Medicare Costs


California and at least 25 other states are temporarily paying for the medications of seniors who've had problems with the new Medicare prescription drug plan. Now Senator Dianne Feinstein and some of her colleagues are asking the federal government to reimburse states for the expense. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

The new Medicare prescription drug plan has had problems from the start. Thousands of California seniors have had trouble getting their medications.

In response, California has already covered some 34,000 prescriptions that Medicare was supposed to pay for. The state is planning to spend at least $150 million to cover seniors' drugs for up to 30 days.

Senator Feinstein doesn't think the state should have to bear the expense.

She's part of bi-partisan group of senators who are pushing for a bill, that would require the federal government to reimburse states with interest.

Earlier this week, Medicare officials said the government would do no such thing. Officials say states must demand repayment from insurance companies that are providing the new drug benefit.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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