Dec 4, 2017 e-newsletter

HB 1276 Prefiled to Restore MORx Program

On December 1, I filed HB 1276 to restore the MORx Program to help pay prescription drug costs for over 64,000 Missouri seniors in the Medicare doughnut hole (those whose income falls within 85-185% of the federal poverty level). Last year, the General Assembly eliminated this critical program for many of our most vulnerable low-income seniors.

The 2017 federal poverty level for a one-person household is $12,060. That means that MO Rx Program eligibility would be stripped for every Missouri senior living alone with an income between $10,251 and $22,311. They will be forced to pay 100%––rather than 50%­­––of their out-of-pocket costs on medications covered by their Medicare Part D plan.

This vital program not only provides assistance for many low-income seniors in covering their co-pays and the dreaded doughnut hole in Medicare Part D, it also saves the Missouri Medicaid Program millions of dollars a year by keeping seniors from spending down assets and becoming eligible for the state Medicaid program.

Eliminating this program for seniors in this income gap was merely a short-term “fix” enacted by the state legislature to help cover a budgetary shortfall largely due to irresponsible tax cuts. In the long run this short-sighted action will mean more seniors become Medicaid eligible due to less available income, and even worse, seniors will be less able to afford life-saving medication, will become less compliant with medication regimens, and will face further life-threatening and high-cost health complications as a result.

According to the United Health Foundation, Missouri ranks 40th in standard measures of Senior health. It is critical that the General Assembly restore this necessary service to our seniors. It’s the moral thing to do, but it is also a solid investment of state resources. Please help me push this legislation.

What is MORx?

Prefiled bill HB 1276: