Press Release by Congresswoman Pelosi

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi Welcomes President's Proposal on Prescription Drug Coverage

June 30, 1999

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) today praised the President's proposal to cover older Americans for prescription drugs. "The President's proposal is a positive step towards achieving a prescription drug benefit in Medicare. I am particularly pleased the President understands beneficiaries with incomes below 135% of poverty should not pay premiums or share costs for prescription drugs."

The President's plan will extend the solvency of the Medicare trust fund to 2015 by dedicating 15% of the budget surplus to the program and rendering it more competitive and efficient. It will also allow vulnerable Americans between 55 and 65 years of age to buy into Medicare coverage without wrecking havoc on the fiscal health of the Medicare program.

A study Pelosi recently commissioned found that San Francisco seniors pay more than twice as much as drug companies' most favored customers. Specifically, the Pelosi analysis determined that seniors in the 8th Congressional District (most of San Francisco) pay 151% more for commonly used pharmaceuticals than such favored customers as federal agencies. "High drug prices and incomplete coverage place a grave financial burden on older Americans," Pelosi said. "The President has now taken firm action to make pharmaceutical drugs more affordable for seniors, who endure the highest annual expenditures on pharmaceutical drugs. Now we need more comprehensive drug coverage."

Pelosi is a cosponsor of legislation extending Medicare coverage to outpatient prescription medicines (H.R. 1495). And she has cosponsored a bill (H.R. 664) allowing seniors to purchase prescriptions at the discounted rate charged the federal government. Pelosi also voiced support for the President's "buy-in" proposal, which allows individuals from 62 to 64, displaced workers over 55, and others to purchase Medicare coverage. "Congress must act to cover this age group, which has difficulty finding affordable health care elsewhere," Pelosi said. The Congresswoman is an original cosponsor of legislation (H.R. 2228) that would enact this expansion into law.

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