President Signs Tobacco Law, Acts on Medicare Coverage

New law regulates tobacco marketing; Medicare reform to cut costs for seniors in coverage gap
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- President Barack Obama moved on two health care fronts today, signing new legislation to regulate tobacco industry marketing and announcing an agreement with the nation's pharmaceutical companies to reduce the cost of prescription drugs for Americans on Medicare who find themselves in the so-called "doughnut hole" coverage gap.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act provides for stronger warnings and a list of ingredients on cigarette packaging, and places marketing bans on both outdoor tobacco advertising near schools and playgrounds and tobacco company sponsorship of sport and entertainment events.

Under the agreement with pharmaceutical companies participating in Medicare Part D, the cost of prescription drugs ultimately will be reduced by 50 percent for Medicare beneficiaries who fall within the coverage gap between the initial coverage limit of $2,700 and the catastrophic coverage threshold of $6,153.75. The provision to close the gap, long a major cause for senior citizen advocacy groups, will be included in the upcoming health care reform legislation, the president said.

"So as part of the health care reform I expect Congress to enact this year, Medicare beneficiaries whose spending falls within this gap will now receive a discount on prescription drugs of at least 50 percent from the negotiated price their plan pays. It's a reform that will make prescription drugs more affordable for millions of seniors, and restore a measure of fairness to Medicare Part D," President Obama said.

Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act
Pharmaceutical Discounts for Seniors

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