Health care is a top priority this year for the governor. SeniorCare is one part of the whole health care issue in Wisconsin, but its future is in doubt. A special waiver for the prescription drug assistance program for low-income seniors expires on June 30th, and unless it's renewed, SeniorCare will end. Governor Jim Doyle says we'll find out in the next couple of months whether we'll get another waiver to extend the program. "We have been jumping through all the hoops that the federal government makes you jump through, I mean, and one of the most important is to demonstrate that for the 110,000 people on SeniorCare that it is actually cheaper, both for the federal government and for the state, than Medicare Part-D. And it's not only cheaper, it is about half as expensive as Medicare Part-D is."
Doyle says SeniorCare is so much less expensive than Medicare Part-D because the state actually bargains with the drug companies. He says SeniorCare is such a good program, the federal government should use it as a model for the rest of the country. "If congress and the President had really been interested in putting together a really good senior prescription drug program, instead of Medicare Part-D — that was largely written by the drug companies and ended up with a windfall for them in the area of $137-billion — what congress and the president would have done is come in and adopted SeniorCare."
Doyle says for most seniors in the program, SeniorCare is a better option than Medicare Part-D. … The copayments are lower, the coverage is more comprehensive, and it is much less confusing. Doyle's hopeful that the new Congress, with a Democrat majority, might be more sympathetic to extending Wisconsin's SeniorCare program.