Senate Democrats


Held over 130 events with constituents nationwide

Washington, DC — Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Dick Durbin, Senator Carl Levin, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro today discussed complaints they received from their constituents about the President’s deeply flawed Republican prescription drug program.

During the President’s Day Recess, Democrats held more than 130 events in more than 100 cities and towns, and in 27 different states to discuss the program with the ordinary Americans it affects. President Bush and Congressional Republicans promised a benefit to America’s seniors, but instead of putting them first sold out to drug companies and HMOs, and then compounded the problem by botching the implementation.

“Illinois seniors wanted a Medicare benefit that would lower their drug prices,” said Senator Durbin. “What they have today is a confusing benefit, a law that prohibits Medicare from negotiating with pharmaceutical companies and a plan that guarantees drug companies billions of dollars in profits. Medicare Part D is a reward for drug companies and a disaster for America’s seniors. We need to change the benefit to make it fair, reliable and affordable.”

“Since the Medicare prescription drug plan took effect in January, the reaction of our seniors has been confusion, disappointment, and downright anger,” Senator Levin said. “I traveled around Michigan last week and met with seniors in seven Michigan cities to talk about the plan, and the common chorus I heard was that that law is a disaster and needs to be fixed. We need to find a better way.”

“Countless constituents have contacted me in Connecticut’s Third District, all telling me variations on the same thing – that they are having serious difficulty obtaining necessary prescriptions,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “Some are incapable of determining which plans they are enrolled in. Others cannot figure out what benefits they qualify for. And still others are being asked to pay higher deductibles and co-payments than they were told they would have to pay. Seniors like my 92 year-old mother are learning the hard way what happens when you write laws to meet the needs of drug companies and private insurers, not Medicare beneficiaries.”

Democrats have proposed common-sense improvements to the Republican prescription drug benefit that will help America’s seniors and people with disabilities – improvements that congressional Republicans and the Administration have consistently blocked. Republicans may be ignoring the concerns of America’s seniors, but Democrats have listened. Democrats are committed to creating a prescription drug benefit that serves seniors’ interests, not special interests.