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Senate OKs Bill Extending State Coverage Of Medicare Prescriptions

Sacramento, CA — The California Senate has approved emergency legislation to extend state coverage of medications for low-income senior citizens who have been left hanging by foul-ups in the federal government´s new Medicare prescription drug plan.

The bill by Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata of Oakland was sent to the Assembly by a 33 to 2 vote. It would allow the state to pick up the cost of prescriptions for up to 94 days for 1.1 million elderly or disabled Californians who have been transferred to the Medicare drug program from California´s health care program for the poor.

Pharmacies and patients have complained of numerous problems in getting the prescriptions paid for under the new program. Previous legislation rushed through last month provided state coverage of those prescriptions only through this coming Saturday.