'For the Sake of Our Seniors, We Must Dismantle This Cruel Hoax
of a Medicare Bill'
D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic
Leader Tom Daschle spoke with leaders of several seniors groups
at a news conference today to repeal the slush fund for HMOs in
the Republican Medicare prescription drug bill:
we are here to announce that we are preparing legislation to eliminate
the $12 billion Medicare HMO slush fund and millions in HMO payments,
provisions that will give insurance companies hundreds of millions
of dollars -- $500 million this year alone -- while making seniors
wait until 2006 for any alleged help with their drug costs.
need to know that, although Republicans say the benefit is voluntary,
seniors' premiums will increase 12 percent every year if they do
not enroll immediately, thus forcing them into HMOs.
need to know that there is a huge gap in coverage that eliminates
benefits just when their costs go up.
need to know that 2.7 million retirees will lose their prescription
drug coverage they worked their whole lives to earn; and under this
bill they will lose that.
American needs to know that not only did Republicans cook up a bad
prescription drug benefit, but they also larded it with special
Republicans sat down to write the Medicare prescription drug legislation,
excluding Democrats on the House side, they designed a bill to help
the special interests, not seniors, and they succeeded.
increased profits for HMOs by creating billions of dollars in new
subsidies for HMOs that start immediately. But they left many seniors
worse off than they are now, with only meager benefits that do not
begin until 2006.
gave $139 billion in windfall profits to big drug companies. But
they left seniors who have annual drug bills between $2,250 and
$5,100 to pay $35 a month and a $250 deductible each year to receive
absolutely nothing for several months each year.
the special interests, not seniors, in mind, Republicans designed
a bill that will dismantle Medicare. For the sake of our seniors,
we must dismantle this cruel hoax of a bill.
will continue to explain to our seniors just how bad this bill is,
and what we must do to repeal many of its provisions.
Daschle and I have already introduced a bill to repeal the prohibition
on Medicare negotiating for lower drug prices. We will be working
with all the groups here, and hundreds more across the country,
to repeal billions of dollars in new subsidies for HMOs."