CHN: Medicare Prescription Drug Bill Heading for a Vote

Medicare Prescription Drug Bill Heading for a Vote (11/21/03)
Republican leaders in Congress reached an agreement last weekend on a Medicare prescription drug bill and are preparing to move the bill to the House floor as early as Friday, November 21 (HR 1). The Senate will probably begin debating the bill over the weekend.

It is not yet clear if there is enough support for the measure to pass. President Bush has promised to work for the agreement and the AARP has given its endorsement. However, several conservative Republican House members have expressed reservations about the future costs of the bill and many House and Senate Democrats are opposed. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) said he does not believe the bill will pass the Senate and Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) said the bill would “end Medicare as we know it.”

CHN member organizations are concerned that the bill could make things worse for seniors, especially those with low incomes. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, many of the seniors who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid (“dual eligibles”) and who currently receive prescription drug coverage through Medicaid would be worse off under the bill. Concerns have also been expressed about provisions that allow unfair competition from private plans that will undermine the basic Medicare program.

From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Millions of Poor Seniors and People with Disabilities Could End Up Worse Off Under New Medicare Agreement (11/18/03)
Medicare Agreement Could Cause Hardship for Many Poor Seniors and Disabled People and Make Them Worse Off than Under Current Law (11/18/03)

From Families USA
Memo on the problems with the privatization provisions ***PAGE NOT FOUND
Table detailing the problems with the low-income provisions in the deal  ***PAGE NOT FOUND

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