From the Office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi Statement on Republican Failure to Meet Medicare Prescription Drug Bill Deadline

October 17, 2003

Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on the Republicans’ failure to meet their self-imposed deadline on completion of the Medicare prescription drug conference:

"Democrats have been working for years to give seniors and the disabled the Medicare prescription drug benefit they need and deserve. So when the Republican leaders set today as the deadline for completing legislation, we hoped that together we could fulfill the promises made to Medicare beneficiaries.

"Unfortunately, the deadline will pass today with nothing delivered to the millions of elderly and disabled Americans still waiting for help. This is not surprising, considering that House Democrats have not been consulted or included in the House-Senate negotiations.

"Even worse, whatever minor steps have been taken have been steps in the wrong direction. Seniors asked for legislation that would make medicine more affordable. Yet Republicans passed legislation that would forbid the government from negotiating lower drug prices. Seniors asked to pay less. Yet Republicans are insisting on 'means testing' provisions that could force four million seniors to pay more for the benefits they already have instead of receiving more help paying for their medicine.

"It is time to go back to the drawing board. It is time to include Democrats in a process that will give Medicare beneficiaries the affordable, guaranteed and defined prescription drug benefit under Medicare that they desperately need and deserve."




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