Group’s Participation in Medicare Information Sessions Criticized
Congressional candidate Jerry McNerney (D) alleges that incumbent Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) allows a pharmaceutical and insurance industry coalition to run his Medicare seminars for seniors, the Contra Costa Times reports.
Pombo has sponsored a series of seminars that aim to help seniors determine whether they will save money through the Medicare drug benefit and to help them enroll in the benefit. The seminars have included representatives from CMS, the Social Security Administration and the California Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program.
However, McNerney has criticized the involvement of the group Medicare Today, a coalition whose members include insurance providers such as Aetna and CareMark Rx and pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline.
McNerney said, "Pombo should have stuck with a neutral group without an agenda but instead, he turned to the industry that helped finance the passage of the bill."
Pombo spokesperson Nicole Philbin said McNerney's allegations were without merit.
The deadline to enroll in the benefit without financial penalty is May 15 (Vorderbrueggen, Contra Costa Times, 4/14).