Nov 22, 2003
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - In a vote held open for three hours in the early morning of Saturday, November 22, the House adopted H.R. 1, a bill to overhaul Medicare that would effectively end the system as it is known. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14) voiced her strong opposition to the legislation in the following statement:

"Over the last six years, Democrats have been working to add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. Now, the other side has hijacked this bill and instead of working to provide a meaningful, guaranteed, and affordable prescription drug benefit under Medicare, they have made every effort to use this bill to destroy Medicare as we know it. The Republican plan lulls seniors into a false sense of security.

"The Republican plan provides inadequate benefits that leave one-half of seniors paying more out of pocket than they do now. It retains the nearly $3,000 doughnut hole where no coverage is provided.

"The Republican plan privatizes Medicare and requires Medicare to be means tested forcing higher premiums for individuals with incomes above $80,000. For 117,080 middle and upper income seniors from New York means testing results in both a tax increase and an administrative nightmare. But it also prevents many low-income individuals from qualifying for the low-income protection included in the bill. As a result, these individuals will not get the assistance they need with their prescription drug costs.

"The Republican plan robs millions of retirees who have prescription drug coverage from their former employees of their hard earned benefits. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this will encourage employers to drop their retiree prescription drug plans, leaving millions of seniors worse off. In New York, over 200,000 Medicare beneficiaries could lose retiree health benefits.

"The Republican plan does nothing to contain the rise of drug prices. The Secretary of Health and Human Services, unlike the Veterans Administration, is prohibited from negotiating the best drug prices.

"I came to Congress to provide seniors a benefit they need and deserve. I have urged my colleagues to go back to the drawing board to work on a plan that will do just that -- until then, I must vote no on the Republican plan."