01.25.06

KENNEDY STATEMENT ON SEC. LEAVITT’S VISIT TO BOSTON TODAY Kennedy and Colleagues urge President Bush to provide an effective plan for fixing Part D

Boston, MA—Today, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Mike Leavitt, will meet with Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney on the Bush Administration’s attempt to fix a myriad of problems that Massachusettsresidents have been facing since Medicare’s “Part D” program was implemented in early January. Massachusetts has approximately 185,000 residents who are dually-eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.These are low-income elderly and disabled persons who were previously had the costs of their drugs covered under Medicaid and who were transferred to the new Medicare drug program on January 1, 2005. In the midst of this failure, the Administration should not arbitrarily set a date when states must stop paying for prescription drugs until such a timethat Medicare has an effective safety net in place that insures that all seniors will get the medicine that they depend upon.The average monthly spending per dual-eligible resident in Massachusetts is estimated to be $232.43 per month for 2006, or $2789.16 per year.Senator Kennedy said, “Reimbursing states such as Massachusetts that did the right thing by our seniors and disabled is the least the Bush Administration can do. But this is only a bandaid on a Medicare prescription drug program that needs major surgery. The President will address the nation next week on the health care issue, and I urge him to join us in proposing real reforms for the prescription drug program.”Senators Kennedy, Reid and Rockefeller sent the following letter to President Bush today. -30-

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