The fate of the landmark Medicare prescription drug bill is now in the hands of the U.S. Senate. More than a vote is at stake. With final passage in the Senate, the Congress will honor a longstanding promise to 41 million older and disabled Americans and their families by finally adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. This bill will help millions of people, especially those with low incomes and high drug costs. It will strengthen Medicare by adding this long overdue benefit and preserving the basic structure of the Medicare program.
The legislation also adds new preventive services for all Medicare beneficiaries, including a one-time physical examination, cholesterol and lipid screening and improved diabetes lab screening. And it provides a new benefit to better manage care for those who suffer from chronic conditions. Better chronic care management will help lower overall health care costs by preventing costly emergency room visits, hospital stays and nursing home enrollments.
We urge the Senate to seize this historic opportunity and vote to pass this bill now.