House moves bill to add seniors to prescription drug program

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FILE – In this June 15, 2018, file photo, pharmaceuticals are seen in North Andover, Mass. Democrats are committed to passing legislation this year to curb prescription drug prices, but they’re still disagreeing on how to cut costs for patients and taxpayers while preserving profits that lure investors to back potentially promising treatments. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania House voted unanimously Wednesday to expand income eligibility limits for the state’s prescription drug subsidy program.

The House voted 199-0 to approve the bill that would increase the maximum income for PACENET to $33,500 for single people and $41,500 for married couples.

Officials say it would expand eligibility by about 100,000 people, although some 20,000-23,000 more seniors are expected to enroll. Those who recently applied but whose incomes were slightly too high would be automatically enrolled.

The bill would also eliminate the requirement that PACENET cardholders pay monthly premiums in a month when they do not receive any prescriptions.

The sponsor, Rep. Wendi Thomas, R-Bucks, said federal money will fund the additional cost.

Three years ago, the Legislature and governor raised the PACENET limits by $4,000, which was the first change in 15 years.

PACENET and its companion program, PACE, are funded by the state lottery.

The measure was sent to the state Senate for its consideration.

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