“Sham” Medicare Bill Enacted but Battle Is Not Over!

From the Alliance for Retired Americans

The Medicare Prescription Drug and Modernization Act (H.R.1), which sets in motion the privatization of the traditional fee-for-service Medicare program, has been enacted into law. President George W. Bush has pledged to sign it. The Senate voted 54-44 on Tuesday to adopt the bill which squeaked through the House early Saturday morning by a vote of 220 to 215. The House vote came only after the GOP-controlled House violated its own rules regarding the time allowed for voting by several hours to provide President Bush with time to twist the arms of some reluctant members of his own party. An effort, led by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), to filibuster the bill in the Senate failed 70-29. A second effort involving budget-related objections, led by Senate Democratic Leader Thomas Daschle (D-SD), also failed 61-39.

“Many older Americans remember ‘Black Tuesday’ as the day the Stock Market crashed in 1929 but there is a new ‘Black Tuesday’ that will be remembered by future generations. It is Tuesday, November 25, 2003 — the day that the U. S. Senate voted to privatize Medicare,” says George J. Kourpias, President of the Alliance for Retired Americans. Kourpias, who called it a “sad day for America’s seniors,” says: “Older Americans will remember the lawmakers who voted to give billions of dollars in subsidies to private insurance companies and drug manufacturers while making it possible to dismantle the health care program on which 40 million elderly and disabled Americans depend. Their names will be added to a permanent ‘Hall of Shame.’”

Kourpias issued the following message to Alliance activists, “There is no question that the passage of this sham prescription drug bill makes our job harder but all is not lost. Seniors will remember that, in 1989, when details of the infamous catastrophic bill were finally revealed, Congress was forced to repeal it. We can make that happen with this legislation. First, we have to educate older Americans and their families on exactly what this bill does and does not do. This bill is being hailed by Republicans as a landmark prescription drug bill but the truth is that it is nothing more than an all out assault on the Medicare program. When seniors realize that they have been betrayed by the very lawmakers they helped elect, the public outcry will reach every corner of this country, and then we’ll see how fast Members of Congress can act when their jobs are at stake,” says Kourpias.

Winners in Medicare Bill

The following is a list of the groups that benefit from the Medicare bill:

Losers in Medicare Bill

Here are some of the groups that lose under the Medicare bill:

Why Alliance Opposes New Medicare Law

Executive Director Edward F. Coyle says, “The Alliance for Retired Americans continues to oppose the Medicare Prescription Drug and Medicare Modernization Act and will work to have it overturned before it ever goes into effect.” Coyle cites the following objections to the bill:

To find out how you will fare under the new prescription drug benefit, visit " http://kaisernetwork.org/drugcalculator " .