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Lawmakers To Act Quickly On Bill Authorizing Drug Payments

Sacramento, CA — Lawmakers say they´ll pass stopgap legislation this week authorizing the state to pay for medications for senior citizens wrongly denied coverage by the federal government´s new Medicare prescription drug plan.

Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata predicts the Legislature will have a bill on Governor Schwarzenegger´s desk by Thursday afternoon allocating $150 million to cover the prescriptions for up to 30 days.

Schwarzenegger announced last Friday that the state would temporarily cover prescriptions for people who were wrongly denied coverage as federal officials try to work out problems with the new Medicare plan, which took effect January 1st.

At least eight other states have taken similar steps. Schwarzenegger said today that California had already covered the cost of 34,000 prescriptions since his announcement.