Democratic Oregon Senate Candidate Criticizes GOP Medicare Drug Benefit Plan
Delivering the weekly Democratic radio address Saturday, Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury (D) said that Republicans are "so beholden to the pharmaceutical industry they're ignoring the problem of soaring prescription drug costs," the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports. He said that the GOP's prescription drug plan "depends on the goodwill of private insurance companies" (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 6/1). The drug benefit component of the House Republicans' Medicare reform plan would require Medicare beneficiaries to pay $35 to $40 monthly premiums and a $250 annual deductible. Beneficiaries would receive coverage for 70% to 80% of the first $1,000 of their annual prescription drug costs and coverage for 50% of their annual costs between $1,000 and $2,250. Seniors would have to cover 100% of their annual prescription drug costs between $2,250 and $5,000; the proposed benefit would cover 100% of annual costs higher than $5,000. The benefit also would cover all drug costs for beneficiaries with annual incomes less than 135% of the federal poverty level, and seniors with annual incomes slightly higher than that would receive aid on a sliding scale (California Healthline, 5/20). Bradbury, who is running for the Senate against Sen. Gordon Smith (R), said Democrats support a "comprehensive, affordable" prescription drug benefit for Medicare beneficiaries (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 6/1). Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and Zell Miller (D-Ga.) have proposed a plan under which beneficiaries would pay a $25 monthly premium with no annual deductible and would receive coverage for 50% of their annual prescription drug costs less than $4,000 and coverage for 100% of annual costs higher than $4,000 (California Healthline, 5/20).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.