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USA Today: GOP's Medicare Drug Bill Caters to Special Interests

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USA Today: GOP's Medicare Drug Bill Caters to Special Interests

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The following letter from Leader Pelosi appeared in USA Today on February 16, 2004.

USA Today's editorial "Surprise! Medicare's drug benefit gets a mega markup" is too complacent about the wasteful spending and unrealized savings in the Republican Medicare prescription drug bill. The editorial also mistakenly chides me for saying we can provide a better benefit to our seniors at a lower cost. In fact, we can.

The Republican bill contains massive special-interest giveaways, including a multibillion-dollar slush fund for HMOs and insurance companies and windfall profits for big drug companies. They should be eliminated immediately.

The Republican bill fails to lower the cost of prescription drugs. It actually prohibits the government from negotiating lower drug prices using the purchasing power of millions of seniors, and prohibits the safe re-importation of lower-priced drugs from Canada and elsewhere. Lifting these bans would produce enormous and immediate savings.

The Republican Medicare law was written with the special-interest groups, not seniors, in mind. We must repeal and replace this law to give our seniors the real prescription-drug benefit they deserve, at a price we can afford.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
House Democratic Leader

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