The Washington Post reported today on a new study suggesting premiums for Medicare prescription drug plans will rise by a whopping 87% next year. The report by Families USA, a national health consumer group, also says fewer states will have plans offering full coverage for most drugs needed by seniors.

The Post story says:

Medicare beneficiaries will have to pay substantially more next year for coverage of brand-name prescription drugs that keeps them from falling into the “doughnut hole,” according to a new report that government officials swiftly criticized as incomplete.

The report, released yesterday by the advocacy group Families USA, found that average monthly premiums will rise 87 percent, to $103.20, for plans that provide “meaningful coverage” in what otherwise would be a gap in Medicare’s prescription drug benefit. Such coverage also will be harder to find — 13 states will have no plans offering it in 2007, up from four states this year, the report found.

Senior citizens deserve better. Congress should make fixing the Medicare mess a top priority when it comes back after the election.