The state proposal to close the so-called “donut hole” in coverage in the new federal Medicare Prescription Drug plan gets a hearing before a Senate committee. Lieutenant Governor Joe Maxwell, the state’s advodate for the elderly,says the federal benefit was created with the idea that the states would pick up part of the coverage to senior citizens. The gap results from the federal benefit covering initial costs up to $2850, and then resuming coverage once the costs hit $5100. The legislation calling for Missouri to provide the “donut hole” benefit is co-sponsored by Senator Peter Kinder of Cape Girardeau and Senator Ken Jacob of Columbia. The federal program doesn’t kick in fully until January of 2006.