Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi: Republican Prescription Drug Plan a Sham
Jnue 27, 2002

Washington, D.C. -- House Democrats, seniors and advocates held a rally today to call for immediate passage of a Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit that will provide affordable prescription drugs for all America's seniors. The following is a statement by Democratic Whip Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

“For years, House Democrats have urged the Republican Leadership to bring legislation to the floor that would help seniors buy the medication they need to maintain their health. Under immense pressure from the public, they have decided to allow a plan, but only their version of a prescription drug benefit. Unfortunately, this is nothing but a sham proposal, which does not provide a real, guaranteed prescription drug benefit to our nation’s seniors.

The Republican bill presents a clear choice for seniors. The choice is between HMOs and Medicare. If you like HMOs, and the uncertainty about coverage that they create, if you like not knowing what your benefit will be, what your premium will be, or whether the drug your doctor prescribes will be covered - then the Republican bill is for you.

Democrats have offered a substitute that is reliable, affordable and gives seniors a real choice. The Republican Leadership knows this, and this is why they will not allow the Democratic proposal to be debated on the floor.

We have all heard of the placebo effect, when patients feel better after taking a sugar pill that they think is real medicine. The Republicans are feeding the American people a sugar pill in an attempt to sugarcoat the truth - that they are laying the groundwork to privatize Medicare.

The Republicans hope that by passing this bill, they can make the voters feel better about them in November. But the reality is, this bill does not add a benefit that seniors can count on.

We owe our seniors more than a vague promise that they can shop for some sort of coverage, which they may not be able to afford and which may not meet their needs. We owe them a real benefit that will be there whenever they need it, whatever their doctor prescribes.

Surely a generation that fought so hard for our freedom should be able to spend their retirement years free from fear, worry and debt.”