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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 25, 2003

Governor eases burden of prescription drug costs for Medicaid patients
Signs legislation capping cost of prescription drug co-payments

METROPOLIS, ILL – Kicking off his bus tour of Southern Illinois at the Happy Hearts Senior Home in Metropolis, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that protects Medicaid patients and providers from costly hikes on the amount of prescription drug co-payments.

 

“It’s imperative that we do everything we can to make sure the people of Illinois – especially our seniors – can afford the medications they need to stay healthy.  The bill I’m signing today adds protection for some of our most vulnerable citizens – Medicaid patients,” Blagojevich said.

 

Senate Bill 1109, sponsored by state Sen. Rickey Hendon (D-Chicago) and state Rep. David Miller (D-Dolton), caps Medicaid co-payments for brand name drugs at $3.00 – the current rate – and eliminates the current $1.00 co-payment for generic brand drugs.

 

The changes are designed to accomplish two things: ease the burden of prescription drug costs for seniors and low-income families, and create an incentive to use less expensive generic alternatives.

Medicaid is a jointly-funded state and federal government program that pays for medically necessary services for low-income pregnant women, children, caretakers, disabled individuals, or people age 65 or older.  More than 1.3 million Illinois residents, or 11% of the total state population, are covered by Medicaid.

In Illinois, Medicaid is administered by the Department of Public Aid. State government contributes one-half of the program's cost, the federal government the other half. The new law is expected to cost the state $8.2 million this fiscal year.



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