07.30.14

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Applauds Announcement that Wisconsin Seniors have Saved Over $202 Million on Prescription Drugs Costs Under Affordable Care Act

Despite Opposition from Governor Walker, the Affordable Care Act is Working for Wisconsin Seniors

Washington D.C. - On the 49th anniversary of the signing of Medicare and Medicaid into law, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin applauded a new report from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that shows Medicare beneficiaries in Wisconsin have saved $202,883,257 on prescription drugs as a result of the Affordable Care Act

“The Affordable Care Act is working for Wisconsin and thanks to the reforms we put in place four years ago, we have made prescription drugs more affordable and lowered out of pocket costs for seniors in Wisconsin.” Baldwin said, “Instead of attacking the Affordable Care Act and supporting repeal, Governor Walker should be celebrating its success in providing families with the quality and affordable health care coverage they want and need.”

Just last week the Walker administration attacked the Affordable Care Act as “a flawed law” despite the fact that it has lowered out of pocket costs for seniors and provided health care coverage for 139,815 Wisconsinites through the federal health insurance Marketplace. Governor Walker supports repealing the Affordable Care Act, including the health insurance Marketplace and the reforms that have saved seniors money.

The Affordable Care Act makes Medicare prescription drug coverage more affordable by gradually closing the gap in coverage – known as the “donut hole” – where beneficiaries had to pay the full cost of their prescriptions out of pocket, before catastrophic coverage took effect. 

Because of the Affordable Care Act, in 2010, anyone with a Medicare prescription drug plan who reached the prescription drug donut hole received a $250 rebate.  Beginning in 2011, beneficiaries in the donut hole began receiving discounts on covered brand-name drugs and savings on generic drugs.  These savings and Medicare coverage will gradually increase until 2020, when the donut hole will be closed. 

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nationally, more than 8.2 million seniors and people with disabilities with Medicare have saved over $11.5 billion since 2010 on prescription drugs as a result of discounts in the donut hole and rebates in 2010, for an average of $1,407. In Wisconsin, people with Medicare have saved over $202 million on prescription drugs in the Medicare Part D donut hole since the law was enacted. 

However, Wisconsin continues to pay a price for Governor Walker opposition to the Affordable Care Act.  Regarding Medicaid in Wisconsin, Governor Walker refused to accept a federal investment in Wisconsin’s BadgerCare program, and instead kicked 63,000 off their health care coverage and put in place a plan that covers fewer people at a higher cost to taxpayers. As a recent editorial from the Appleton Post Crescent pointed out, the Walker Administration had said that they would successfully and seamlessly transition 90 percent of those the Governor kicked off BadgerCare to the Affordable Care Act health insurance Marketplace. But, a recent report from the Walker Administration revealed that they could not account for 38,000 Wisconsinites who could now be uninsured and face a gap in coverage because of Governor Walker’s plan.