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Capital Hill Watch Alert

The Prescription Drug and Medicare Improvement Act of 2003 (S.1)

A vote on the Prescription Drug and Medicare Improvement Act (S. 1) (To view: Full text of legislation) is expected this week. 

At the expense of even the poorest young workers, this entitlement program will cost according to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates $400 billion over 10 years and could subsidize even the wealthiest of the elderly.  However, health economists indicate that the CBO estimates could easily escalate beyond the original $400 billion by two or three times because it is easier for providers to increase prices due to of health-care subsidies.  Furthermore, under the Prescription Drug and Medicare Improvement Act of 2003, the CBO reports that 37 percent of all retirees with employer-based drug coverage would lose it. 

Contrary to supporters of this measure’s rhetoric, it is not reform but an expansion of bureaucratic control over the financing and delivery of health care services.  Unfortunately, the tragic consequence of this bill would be an increase in premiums while unnecessarily increasing the demand for drugs. 

In addition to current Medicare reforms, it is expected (although the details are not fixed) that a prescription drug policy would cost a retiree monthly about $35.  Key aspects of the measure are: 

  1. A $275 deductible must be spent by an individual prior to the start of benefits.
  2. From $276 to $4,500, Medicare will pay 50 percent of the drug cost.
  3. From $4,501 to $5,800 coverage is not provided for drug costs and,
  4. After spending exceeds $5,800 out-of-pocket expenses, catastrophic protection will cover 90 percent of the costs. 

What Can You Do?  

Urge your senators to NOT SUPPORT the Prescription Drug and Medicare Improvement Act 2003. 

Contact Information:  

Capitol Hill Switchboard Numbers: 202-225-3121 or 202-224-3121 (Those numbers will direct you to the Capitol Hill operator. Ask for your senator's office.)

To go to your senators' websites, find their E-mail or to find out who your senators are... http://www.senate.gov/contacting/index_by_state.cfm  

Addressing Correspondence: 

The Honorable (full name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator (last name):

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