Green Rallies Against Lemon Medicare Bill
November 19, 2003
Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Gene Green (D-Houston) joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, Senator Ted Kennedy and members of the Alliance of Retired Americans at a rally to stop Congress from passing a lemon of a Medicare Bill. Green released the following statement regarding final Medicare legislation that the House and Senate may vote on later this week:
I cannot support the proposed Medicare bill. Their benefit is insufficient to provide seniors with the assistance they need to purchase their prescription drugs. The bill includes a $275 deductible, an estimated $35 monthly premium, 25 percent coinsurance payment, and a donut hole that will force seniors to pay all of their drug costs between $2200 and $3600 annually. According to some estimates, seniors would still be responsible for 50-80 percent of their prescription drug costs.
This plan also relies too heavily on private plans that we already know are inefficient. According to the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC), Medicare managed care plans are paid 119 percent of fee-for-service. Instead of wasting money on this kind of corporate welfare, we should put more money toward a real benefit.
The bill also does nothing to reign in the costs of prescription drugs, it actually prohibits Medicare from negotiating for lower drug prices, and it could cause more than 2 million seniors to lose their employer based drug coverage. This legislation is supported by pharmaceutical and insurance companies, and comes at the expense of American seniors.
Senior citizens and disabled Texans will be worse off, 132,300 beneficiaries will lose their retiree health benefits, and 389,400 will pay more for their prescription drugs they need. This is not the kind of benefit our seniors deserve.