By Julie Bierach / Kelsey Proud, St. Louis Public Radio
ST. LOUIS –
Often programs called "important" and "a blessing" by lawmakers on both sides of the isle aren't in much danger of elimination, but this time might be different.
207,000 low-income seniors and disabled people in Missouri participate in the Missouri Rx prescription drug assistance program. Well, at least until it expires in August 2011.
Unless the Missouri General Assembly reauthorizes it.
Missouri Rx was established five years ago when Medicare Part D took effect. It pays 50 percent of out-of-pocket costs for medications that are covered by a Medicare Part D plan, including the cost of the deductible and co-payment.
Nixon spoke about the program at a press conference at a Grace Hill Neighborhood Center in St. Louis Tuesday.
"Let me be clear, if we don't act on this during this upcoming legislative session, this important program will go away. And that simply cannot happen," Nixon said.
Republican Representative David Sater, who is chair of the House Healthcare Policy Committee and a pharmacist, says he agrees that the program should be reauthorized for another five years. He says the program has been a "blessing for senior citizens to help pay for prescription drugs."