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Fuzzy senior “Rx Drug Plan” being rushed through Senate based on “feelings,” not numbers

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1. Senate on verge of passing catastrophic change without time to read the bill.

2. Ranking member cites “alignment of stars” & “feelings” as reasons to pass.

3. Could push seniors out of private plans onto taxpayers’ tab.

4. ACTION NEEDED! Tell Senators to slow down and take time for debate.

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SENATE ON VERGE OF PASSING ANOTHER UN-READ BILL

 

June 11, 2003 -- On Tuesday night, the Senate received a 70-page outline of the bipartisan compromise Medicare prescription drug plan, “The Prescription Drug and Medicare Improvement Act of 2003.”

Let me emphasize OUTLINE, because the specific language of the bill has not been finalized.

 

But that isn’t stopping the Senate Finance Committee from holding an Executive Session and voting on it Thursday morning.  It is expected to hit the Senate floor on Monday, June 16.

 

SENATOR CITES “STAR ALIGNMENT” AND “GOOD FEELINGS” AS REASONS TO PASS

 

Ranking member of the Finance Committee, Max Baucus (D-MT ) admitted in a statement this week that “some may take issue with the speed of our deliberations,” and that he would like to hold up the bill until there are firm cost estimates. 

 

In his statement, committee chairman, Charles Grassley (R-IA), claims the bill “gets the most bang for our buck,” but offers no figures to back that up.

 

Despite these concerns, both urge action.  Says Baucus, “Sometimes there comes a time when you fish or cut bait….This year, the stars are aligned….I have a good feeling about the progress we’ve made.”

 

What Sen. Baucus really means is that there is $400 billion of your money sitting on the table available for them spend on this new benefit.  And he’s afraid if they don’t grab the money now – even for what he admits is a seriously flawed bill – they may not get another go-round at the money grab this session. (Read both statements at http://finance.senate.gov/sitepages/press.htm)

 

TAXPAYER NUMBERS DON’T LOOK GOOD

 

Since we don’t know the details yet, we can’t comment on the merits.  But what we do know so far is that the bill would create a UNIVERSAL government plan that would act as a floor, rather than ceiling, for private plans.  That means that lower-cost private plans that offer basic coverage would no longer be allowed to do so – they would have to match the government plan, giving seniors little or no choice of type of plans to choose.

 

Further, this means that we can expect a massive exodus as people bail out of private coverage they now hold and run to the taxpayer-funded entitlement instead – “a profound mistake” according to Heritage Foundation and the National Center for Policy Analysis. According to the Joint Economic Commission, 78% of seniors already have private prescription coverage.  Expect taxpayers to start footing the bills for them.

 

TELL SENATORS TO THINK BEFORE THEY SPEND YOUR MONEY

 

We will keep you posted on specifics of the bill as they become available, but in the meantime, tell your Senators to take their time on this bill.  This is a massive change to an already severely flawed program.  One way or another, we will be paying for it for the rest of our lives. (Remember, the original 1965 estimates for Medicare costs are a minuscule percentage of our current reality.)

 

Ask them to allow enough time to:

--Read the bill

--Allow for public debate

--Allow for debate on the floor.

 

This is too important to rush!

CLICK HERE TO LINK TO SENATORS  

Senate switchboard:    (202) 224 - 2131

 

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