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Time For A Sensible Medicare Drug Benefit

Recorded on August 22, 2002

In the closing days of the session just before the August recess, the United States Senate considered and rejected four major proposals to provide prescription drug coverage for Medicare beneficiaries. Does this mean the end of the Medicare drug debate for this session?

Joseph Antos of the American Enterprise Institute, a former Assistant Director of the Congressional Budget Office, who analyzed various Medicare proposals in Congress, and Grace Marie Turner, President of the Galen Institute, have carefully developed a major proposal that could yet break the logjam in the Senate. Their "Prescription Drug Security Plan" would combine a generous, up- front federal subsidy for routine drug expenses with back-end catastrophic coverage for high drug costs.

The Plan would target federal subsidies to low and moderate income seniors who do not have access to drug coverage. But, because the plan is voluntary, it would be open to all Medicare beneficiaries.