State Budget Creates Rx Discount Card and New Assistance for Family Caregivers

Wednesday, April 2, 2008 General News J E 4
Statement by Luci de Haan, AARP Acting State Director

ALBANY, N.Y., April 1, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AARP is very pleased with several new initiatives adopted in New York's state budget that address prescription drug affordability and caregiver support.

"AARP commends the leadership of Governor Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Majority Leader Joseph Bruno in joining to develop a budget that addresses these critical health issues affecting older New Yorkers," said Luci de Haan, AARP NY Acting State Director.

Specific programs and new initiatives include the following:

Rx Discount Card - The Rx discount card would allow people ages 50 to 64 to save up to 30% on their brand name drugs and close to 60% on generics drugs. Eligibility for the card would be based on existing EPIC income guidelines - with the card available to individuals with incomes of less than $35,000 and to married couples with incomes of less than $50,000.

Countering Drug Industry Marketing - This initiative will provide objective research to physicians to encourage more independent prescribing of drugs. The drug industry spends billions of dollars pushing doctors to prescribe new, high cost, brand name drugs when older or generic drugs that cost less and are equally effective may be available.

Caregiver Centers of Excellence - The creation of up to seven regional caregiver "Centers for Excellence" will provide education and training to caregivers. These centers will also develop and implement innovative approaches to assisting caregivers, including stress reduction and funding respite care.

"Aging in Place" - Up to eight community empowerment initiative start-up grants will be awarded to enable communities, neighborhoods, elders and families to develop their own support services that allow older persons to "age in place" and stay in their own neighborhoods.

Enriched Adult Day Demonstration Project - This project will create an enriched social adult day care services demonstration project to help older New Yorkers "age in place" in the community.

"Drug affordability and the ability of a older person to age in place in their community with dignity is something that is very important to our over than 2.6 million members," said de Haan. "We believe that many of the programs agreed upon in the new state budget address these fundamental needs of older New Yorkers.

SOURCE AARP Albany Office


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