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Advocacy groups file federal lawsuit over new Medicare plan

[JURIST] Eight advocacy groups Monday filed a complaint [PDF] in US district court on behalf of the 6.4 million people who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid to make sure that no elderly or disabled Americans lose access to prescription drugs when they enroll in the new Medicare drug plan. US Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt [official biography] is the named defendant in the suit which seeks to continue existing coverage until beneficiaries are enrolled in a plan that meets all their prescription needs. The groups assert that Leavitt has not met his statutory obligation to ensure continued, uninterrupted drug coverage for those enrolled in both Medicaid and Medicare, and contend that some will no longer be eligible for drugs due to either lack of understanding of the new package or non-enrollment in a drug plan. One of the plaintiff groups, the Medicare Rights Center [advocacy website] has a report [PDF text] assessing the impact of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 [PDF text] on "dual eligibles." AP has more. The New York Times has additional coverage.

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