MARCH 4, 2003
President Bush's Latest Medicare Proposal
is the Same Old Tune and Way off Key for America's Seniors;
The Plan Still Coerces Seniors Into Private Plans
and Away From Traditional Medicare
- March 4 - In a speech today before the AMA, President Bush outlined
his proposed framework for new Medicare and prescription drug
coverage legislation. The following is the statement of Ron Pollack,
executive director of Families USA, concerning the President's
Bush's latest Medicare and prescription drug proposal is the same
old tune and is way off key for America's seniors.
would still coerce seniors away from the traditional Medicare
program and into a privatized system.
initial proposal, seniors in traditional Medicare would not have
been provided with any drug coverage. Under the new plan, seniors
in traditional Medicare would receive coverage only after they
spend thousands, and perhaps many of thousands of dollars, out
of their own pockets on drugs - a cost that the vast majority
of seniors cannot afford.
"As a practical
matter, therefore, the new plan, just like the first one, will
leave seniors without drug coverage unless they drop traditional
Medicare for a private plan. In the process, they may lose the
doctors that have served them well.
of eight seniors are in the traditional Medicare program today.
Coercing them into a privatized system to get the medicines they
need is shortsighted. Private plans have refused to serve seniors
in most rural areas; have abandoned 2.4 million seniors in 'unprofitable'
communities; and, in the private plans that do exist, seniors
are experiencing fast-rising premiums and shrinking benefits.
"Make no mistake,
this proposal is a clear effort to privatize the Medicare program.
Seniors in this new privatized Medicare will no longer have a
guarantee of specific benefits and defined coverage. Once again,
the President's proposal fails to offer seniors a meaningful drug
benefit in the Medicare program."
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