Hoyer Believes Seniors Deserve Better than Bush’s Drug Plan Bungle - Southern Maryland Headline News

Hoyer Believes Seniors Deserve Better than Bush’s Drug Plan Bungle

Says Deadline for Enrollment Should Be Extended

WASHINGTON, DC – Following President Bush’s remarks on the Medicare prescription drug program in Silver Spring, MD today, Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) criticized the Republican law as being unnecessarily complicated and failing to adequately take care of seniors’ biggest problem, the high price of medicines.

“The Republicans’ Medicare prescription drug plan has truly been a double whammy for the American public,” Hoyer said. “First, American taxpayers were socked with a bill that was over twice as much – $932 billion – as the Bush Administration’s advertised price. Then, seniors were forced to grapple with a system so confusing and complicated that many still cannot navigate their way through the program.”

Yesterday, Hoyer officially requested that the Bush Administration extend the penalty-free enrollment period for the Medicare prescription drug plan from May 15, 2006 until December 31, 2006.

“The cost of prescription drugs in this country has skyrocketed beyond what most American families can afford, and it is imperative that we extend the time allotted for seniors to enroll in the Medicare prescription drug plan,” Hoyer said. “It is patently unfair that seniors who are unable to navigate the plan’s enrollment labyrinth are penalized with what amounts to a ‘Bush Prescription Drug Tax.”

Under the new law, Maryland seniors are facing an overwhelming array of choices: 19 different companies offering 47 different plans with monthly premiums that vary from $6.44 to $68.91, as well as a Medicare managed care option called MedicareAdvantage.

On Friday, Hoyer hosted a town hall meeting at the Richard Clark Senior Center in La Plata where bewildered seniors expressed their frustration with the new law.

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