Obama touting donut-hole checks in Md. today
President Barack Obama is going outside the DC beltway Tuesday morning to promote one of the first tangible benefits of the new health care law: a $250 subsidy payment to seniors who have fallen into the prescription-drug "donut hole."
He will speak to an invited audience at a senior center in Montgomery County. The meeting will be beamed live to public gatherings at more than 100 sites in at least 26 states, including at least six in Maryland (locations listed after the jump). Obama will take a few questions from people at other sites, in what the White House is terming a "tele-town hall."
The first wave of 80,000 rebate checks is going out this month. As many as 4 million elderly and disabled Medicare beneficiaries could receive the tax-free, one-time-only benefit by the end of the year. The money will be sent automatically to those who qualify, according to the government.
Under the current system, patients fall into the coverage gap when they and their drug plan spend more than $2,830. At that point, they must pay the full cost of their drugs. After they spend another $3,610, they emerge from the hole and pay only 5% of their medication costs.
Next year, most Medicare recipients who fall into the donut hole will get a 50% discount on brand-name prescription drugs at the time they buy them.
In advance of Obama's remarks, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky launched the Republican pushback.
"What the administration won’t mention at today’s event," McConnell said in remarks on the Senate floor, "is that for every senior who gets a check, more than three other seniors will see an increase in their prescription drug insurance premiums."
Here are some of the Maryland meetings for seniors. The sessions are to be linked electronically to the one in Wheaton where Obama will speak.
Carroll Lutheran Village
9078 Chevrolet Drive
Ellicott City, Md.
Grantsville Senior Center
125 Durst Court
Mary Browning Senior Center
104 East Center Street
9571 Whiskey Bottom Rd.
3940 Bexley Place
Southwinds Adult Community
4210 Southwinds Adult Community
White Plains, Md.