June 6, 2019 Press Release

McSally Misdirects On Support For Closing “Doughnut Hole”

McSally Misdirects On Support For Closing “Doughnut Hole”

McSally has repeatedly sought to strike down federal legislation that has closed Medicare Part D’s prescription drug coverage gap

McSally has enabled a GOP lawsuit that would widen the coverage gap and force seniors to pay more for prescription drug coverage


PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. Martha McSally on Tuesday claimed that she supports closing Medicare Part D’s prescription drug coverage gap — also known as the Medicare “doughnut hole.” But that’s not the full story: McSally has previously voted for efforts to widen the coverage gap, and she is — even now — standing by a Republican lawsuit that would widen the coverage gap, requiring seniors to pay more for prescription drug coverage.

Because of a protection included as part of the Affordable Care Act — which McSally has repeatedly sought to repeal, sabotage, and dismantle — the Medicare Part D coverage gap has been narrowing since 2010. And Martha McSally’s claim that she supports closing the coverage gap just doesn’t square with the truth that she has enabled an ongoing lawsuit that would actually widen the gap.

McSally’s Claim: “We gotta close that doughnut hole.”

Asked about the “doughnut hole” during a Tuesday tele-town hall event, McSally claimed to support closing the coverage gap: “Yeah, we gotta close that doughnut hole, too — you’re absolutely right. Especially our seniors, who have these high medical costs, and just can’t afford it!”

The Truth: McSally has supported and continues to enable efforts to worsen the coverage gap and force seniors to pay more for prescription drug coverage.

McSally has voted to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would — in addition to gutting coverage protections for Arizonans with pre-existing conditions — widen the closing of the doughnut hole. On top of that, McSally has enabled Republicans’ legal effort to fully strike down and dismantle the health care law. If successful, McSally’s allies’ lawsuit would be devastating for Arizona seniors and actually worsen the coverage gap problem, per the New York Times:

Medicare beneficiaries would have to pay more for preventive care, like a wellness visit or diabetes check, which are now free. They would also have to pay more toward their prescription drugs. About five million people faced the so-called Medicare doughnut hole, or coverage gap, in 2016, which the A.C.A. sought to eliminate. If the law were overturned, that coverage gap would widen again.

So, does Martha McSally truly wan’t to close the Medicare Part D coverage gap? No, not based on her voting record or her allies’ ongoing effort to make prescription drugs less affordable for Arizona seniors.

Full Transcript:

TOWN HALL PARTICIPANT: I worked medical for many years, and my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma, and then within two years I was diagnosed with leukemia. We both went through through the whole pharma thing, as you and many others on here have said. My husband was just recently diagnosed again with lymphoma and we’re going through the whole pharma thing again.

Pharma is a huge problem in this country, as every one of us know it is. And the prices, as you say, are so high, and then with him being 68 years old, he falls into that doughnut hole of Medicare, and then it’s $17,000 a month for medication, or, you know, $2,000 out of pocket, until that doughnut hole is filled in. So, that is the first issue, and I’m so glad that you are attacking that.

MCSALLY: Yeah, we gotta close that doughnut hole, too — you’re absolutely right. Especially our seniors, who have these high medical costs, and just can’t afford it!