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Issue Position: Senior Citizens Must Have an Acceptable Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit

Issue Position

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"I have watched with complete amazement as the Bush Administration, the Republican Congress and pharmaceutical and insurance lobbyists have forced a disastrous prescription drug scheme on America's greatest generation.

Everywhere I go in Brooklyn, I hear from concerned seniors. Many of them cannot access lifesaving medicines, some have seen their drug prices increase, and others are so confused by all the mass mailings and phone calls they cannot figure out which plan is best for them and their family. No one can. My staff and I have taken hundreds of calls from desperate seniors who did not deserve to have their own government do this to them.

We can have a simple Medicare prescription drug benefit, give our seniors low prices just like the Veterans Administration, and save the taxpayers $40 billion a year. If Medicare bargains for lower prices, it will put money back into the pockets of America's seniors, not insurance and pharmaceutical companies, and strengthen the Medicare system." - Yvette Clarke

Bush's Immoral Prescription Drug Tax on Seniors

On May 15th, the registration period will close, and the Bush Administration will impose a prescription drug tax on any senior who does not sign-up according to their timeline. To penalize our seniors because they are hesitant to register for a confusing and deceptive scheme is completely unfair. Instead of forcing a benefit on Americans that allows the drug and insurance companies to rob our seniors and bankrupt our neighborhood pharmacies, what America needs are benefits that puts seniors first.

Extend the Sign-Up Period for Prescription Drugs

We need to extend the sign-up period by six months to give seniors more time to make sense of this benefit, and we need to eliminate the Bush Administration's prescription drug tax. These short-term reforms will take pressure off of Americans and give our government time to think long and hard about meaningful Medicare reform.

Today's seniors helped this country through the Depression, fought two wars, and turned America into the greatest nation in the world. They do not deserve to be treated like second-tier citizens by their own government, and be made victims of backroom deals by pharmaceutical and insurance lobbyists.

Every American deserves the best health care we can provide. We do not have to accept a failed benefit and we do not have to tolerate a culture of corruption or leaders who are afraid to admit their mistakes. Democrats have the answer, and under a Democratic Congress, we will give seniors the prescription drug benefit they were promised years ago. Together we can do better.

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