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April 12, 2007 3:00 AM

Poor older Americans are missing out on government aid

Medicares low-cost prescription drug coverage for needy senior citizens has been universally hailed as a model of compassionate public policy. But volunteers and counselors who help people apply for the special coverage are having a tough time locating the remaining eligible people. Of the estimated 4.4 million Medicare beneficiaries that lack prescription drug coverage, nearly 75 percent, roughly 3.3 million people, are believed to be eligible for Medicares low-income prescription drug subsidy, according to federal data. Its the latest episode of a recurring problem that has frustrated government officials, researchers and advocates for the poor for decades.

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