SeniorCare Must Stay for WI Senior Citizens
Once again in Governor Walker’s budget he has suggested cutting $15 million from the popular senior citizen prescription drug program SeniorCare. Over 86,000 senior citizens are currently enrolled in the affordable SeniorCare program which is available for only $30 a year. The proposal by Governor Walker would require senior citizens to first enroll in the more expensive Medicare Part D program.

According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, only 12,000 senior citizens freely choose to be in both SeniorCare and Medicare Part D. For many, SeniorCare alone provide the best coverage and the lowest cost. We know that SeniorCare is working for our elderly population in Wisconsin. Thanks to good outreach from our Wisconsin aging advocates, those that need more coverage in Medicare part D are already enrolled in the program, but everyone should not be forced into the plan.

People who want to shut down SeniorCare say that the Federal government is not paying us enough, but that is not the case either. The Federal government pays the majority of the public sector cost of SeniorCare. A large portion of the cost for this popular affordable program is paid for by drug company rebates and by the $30 annual premiums paid by senior citizens enrolled in the program. This is a plan that works; drug companies providing rebates for our older citizens, the Federal government paying the bulk of the taxpayer expense and participants paying an annual premium. Why mess with it?

It is estimated that this change to SeniorCare will raise costs for senior citizens by $14.1 million dollars per year. For a senior currently paying $30 a year to participate in SeniorCare, they will be paying $30 a month in Medicare Part D. This increased expense on our elderly can be devastating financially. Senior citizens simply cannot afford the change. Governor Walker tried this before in his 2011 budget and was thwarted by the Joint Finance Committee who removed the measure on a 15-1 vote. I am hopeful that will happen again.

My office is collecting stories from people who are currently enrolled in SeniorCare and want to keep it. If you or someone you love is enrolled in SeniorCare call my office or email your story. It is my priority to restore SeniorCare in the Joint Finance Committee. For more information or to tell your story call 888-549-0027 or 608-266-6670 or sen.erpenbach@legis.wi.gov