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Bill Nelson seeks to extend prescription drug subsidies to Puerto Rico seniors

Florida’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is seeking to extend Medicare low-income prescription drug subsidies to resident of Puerto Rico, with a bill he filed today.

Nelson’s office estimated that the bill could help an estimated 400,000 low-income seniors in Puerto Rico afford the cost of prescription drugs.

While low-income seniors living in the continental U.S. may be eligible for the Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy program, seniors living in a U.S. territory, such as Puerto Rico, are not.

A separate program was established in 2003 to allow for low-income seniors’ subsidies for prescription drugs but the program requires the government of Puerto Rico to match about half the subsidy and the economically-strapped government is unable to anymore, Nelson’s office said in a press release.

“This is inherently unfair,” Nelson said in the release. “This bill will help seniors living in Puerto better afford the cost of their prescription drugs by simply putting them on the same footing as seniors living in the states.”

Last month Puerto Rico warned the U.S. of a looming health care crisis if it is unable to solve its current fiscal crisis.

Nelson’s measure, which has yet to be assigned a bill number,  will head to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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