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Stabenow, Levin: Give Seniors the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit They Deserve

Location: Washington, DC

Stabenow, Levin: Give Seniors the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit They Deserve

New Medicare drug option will lower prices, give seniors a real choice

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Carl Levin (D-MI) today introduced the Medicare-Guaranteed Prescription Drug Act of 2006 to offer a streamlined, user-friendly prescription drug benefit administered directly through Medicare. The new benefit will offer seniors and people with disabilities a real choice that alleviates many of the problems with the new Medicare Prescription Drug program.

"I have received thousands of calls and letters from people across Michigan about the trouble they are having with the new program," said Stabenow. "And while the Administration must take action to fix these problems, the one choice that seniors want is the one choice they don't have - a comprehensive, affordable prescription drug benefit administered by Medicare. Our bill will give seniors the prescription drug benefit they deserve - one that works for them, not against them."

"The response from Michigan's seniors has been loud and clear: this program needs to be fixed," said Levin. "The bill that Senator Stabenow and I introduced today will establish the kind of simple, cost-effective plan the Administration failed to provide. Seniors across America are struggling with the current situation and it's time we take action to turn Medicare prescription drug coverage into a real benefit."

The Medicare-Guaranteed Prescription Drug Act will establish a standard prescription drug benefit administered directly by Medicare. Seniors who choose this option will have a modest deductible and co-payments for prescriptions, without any gaps in coverage. The benefit would also provide complete protection for seniors against drug costs above $3,600 per year. Everyone who chooses the Medicare-guaranteed option would pay a low, uniform monthly premium, regardless of where they live.

By instructing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate prices directly with pharmaceutical companies on behalf of those enrolled in the Medicare-guaranteed option, the bill will help lower prescription drug costs. Negotiating group prices will result in lower expenses for seniors and savings for taxpayers.

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