Pelosi: Seniors Deserve More Time for Confusing Prescription Drug Program
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and Caucus Chairman James E. Clyburn at a press stakeout this morning after the Democratic Caucus meeting to discuss extending the May 15th deadline for seniors to sign up for the prescription drug benefit. Below are Pelosi's remarks:
"Later today, House and Senate Democrats will come together to talk about what will happen next Monday. Starting that day, seniors in America and people with disabilities who have not signed up for the prescription drug bill will be penalized. And that penalty, the Bush prescription drug tax, will be a penalty for life.
"Democrats for a long time have been calling for lifting that penalty and extending the time seniors and people with disabilities have to sign up. It takes time for them to figure out the plan that is best for them. And as Mr. Clyburn said, even those who have called the Administration's call line for advice on which plan is most affordable and appropriate for them, 60 percent of them have gotten the wrong information. And that is according to the GAO report. Don't take our word for it; that's the GAO report. Many of our seniors are paying more for prescription drugs now than they need to.
"Democrats are calling for three things: first, extend the time that seniors have to sign up; second, stop the Bush prescription drug tax as a penalty to seniors that they will be paying for the rest of their lives; and third, let's improve this bill. Give us time to improve this bill so it's better for seniors.
"This bill is confusing because it was borne in corruption. It is part of the Republican culture of corruption that is pervasive in this Congress. It put pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies first. It put seniors last. It's confusing and it's complex. Seniors deserve more time. Seniors do not deserve to be taxed for the rest of their lives because of this corruption and the complexity and confusion in this bill."