MEDICARE PART B
Mr. NELSON of Florida. Mr. President, I rise to respond to the Senator from New Hampshire, to point out that the offset to the amendment that would freeze the Medicare Part B premium for senior citizens is not as the Senator from New Hampshire had been led to believe in Medicare Part D, which is the prescription drug benefit. No, the offset is in the new proposed changes to Medicaid that would make Medicaid be distributed through the States through managed care.
Under the current law, the prescription drugs that are available through Medicaid have to be discounted and provided to Medicaid recipients. The new waivers to the States allowing Medicaid to be dispensed through HMOs is going to allow those discounts to go away, and it will be a negotiated item. There is a savings of up to $2 billion if one does not allow that law to be changed so that the discount goes away by law.
Therefore, Medicaid recipients very possibly pay more. It is that savings, by keeping that discount of up to $2 billion, which is the offset that we pay for, keeping senior citizens whole by not raising their Medicare Part B premiums.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oregon.