OPINION: Special Interest Provisions in President Bush's Drug Plan Costs Maryland Taxpayers $13.1 Billion - Southern Maryland Headline News

OPINION: Special Interest Provisions in President Bush's Drug Plan Costs Maryland Taxpayers $13.1 Billion


"Americans United" Coalition Launches Campaign To Fix Confusing and Costly Bush Drug Program

ANNAPOLIS, MD. - President Bush's prescription drug plan will cost Maryland taxpayers and beneficiaries $13.1 billion over the next decade, according to a report by the Institute for America's Future. The report outlines the consequences of specific provisions inserted at the request of pharmaceutical and HMO interests in the prescription drug law known as Medicare Part D. A coalition of groups called Americans United released the report and launched its statewide campaign to fix the president's Medicare Part D disaster at a news conference earlier today.

Americans United - the group which defeated the president's campaign to privatize Social Security last year - has turned its guns on Bush’s flawed prescription drug plan. The group announced last week that it is launching a national campaign, "The Campaign to Fix the Bush Part D Disaster," in 22 states and the District of Columbia. The announcement came as President Bush campaigned to save his troubled drug program for seniors that is the subject of a fierce election-year debate. The president's tour came as thousands of Medicare recipients have had trouble with the plan.

Institute for America's Future co-director Roger Hickey said the president's plan costs taxpayers because it prohibits Medicare from negotiating with drug companies to get lower prices for seniors and denies coverage to millions of seniors who will still pay monthly premiums this fall.

"The simplest way to reduce the cost of prescription drugs would've been to require Medicare to negotiate lower prices from drug companies like the Veterans Administration does for veterans - and by allowing seniors to choose their drug plan directly from Medicare, instead of from a private insurance company," said Hickey. "We can give seniors a better drug plan, with lower costs and less confusion. Part D was written by and for the drug companies, not seniors - it shows how corruption in Congress hurts average people."

Today's report shows that the primary source of waste in the drug plan is the decision, dictated by drug and insurance industry lobbyists, to provide coverage through private providers and to prohibit Medicare from using its leverage as a bulk buyer to negotiate lower prices.

You can download a copy of the report at:

http://cdncon.vo.llnwd.net/o2/fotf/20060314_medreport/Maryland.pdf

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