Congressman Jim Leach says his office is fielding “some” complaints about the new Medicare cards that seniors can use to get discounts on prescription drugs. Leach says part of the problem is there’s “a two-stage process” to get the cards. Leach says there are places to help folks navigate the conplication, such as the Medicare website — www.medicare.gov — or the agency’s 800 number. Leach says the discount cards don’t fit everybody, and the program’s voluntary, but it’s “particularly helpful” for low-income elderly as the benefit is higher for poor elderly. Others get a discount of between 10 and 15 percent on their prescriptions. Leach, who is from Iowa City, says it’s a “partial fix” and the second phase of the program is what will bring the greatest relief when a more comprehensive benefit kicks in.Senator Charles Grassley, one of the architects of the plan, has been criticizing his democrat opponent for ridiculing the program. Grassley says democrats are deliberately trying to drive down participation. Art Small of Iowa City, Grassley’s democrat opponent, says the program is fraught with confusion. Small says the program will significantly add to the profits of drug companies, but the typical Medicare beneficiary will receive only eight-hundred dollars a year in drug benefits.
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