Rep. Stark throws cold water on Medicare drug benefit

Bush administration officials from the President on down have been going around the country touting the Medicare drug benefit and urging seniors to sign up for it. The Medicare budget assumptions rely on large numbers of people enrolling and the administration is eager to make it happen.

But the program is complex, costs money, and hard for seniors to assess. Rep. Peter Stark (D-CA) reacted to CMS Administrator Mark McClellan’s sales visit to California this way, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation:

My first words of advice: Take your time. … Don’t rush into anything… It’s a good thing that the [Bush] administration is working hard to educate America’s seniors on this drug benefit because it is very complicated. If the (retiree) coverage [employers] are providing is better than this benefit, you should stay where you are. If you sign up for a new Medicare drug plan and quit your retiree drug coverage, you may lose all of your retiree health benefits and never be able to get them back

Well said.

August 12, 2005

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