(202) -225 - 3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement calling on President Bush and Congressional Republicans to act to extend the enrollment deadline for the prescription drug plan. Many seniors who do not enroll by the end of the day will be hit with a lifetime "Medicare tax" of at least 7 percent on future premiums.
"For months, Democrats have been calling to extend the prescription drug deadline and give seniors more time to make this crucial decision about their health care. And for months, President Bush and Congressional Republicans have stubbornly refused to do so, saying that enforcing the deadline would lead more seniors to enroll.
"Now that the deadline has arrived, millions of confused and frustrated seniors have not signed up and Republicans continue to insist that they will impose a lifetime 'Medicare tax' on seniors to penalize them for not successfully navigating the overly complex enrollment procedures.
"We can do better for America's seniors. Democrats will continue fighting to abolish the Medicare tax and extend the enrollment deadline through the end of 2006.
"Every year on April 15, millions of Americans are able to automatically file for an extension to prepare their tax returns with no questions asked. It is beyond comprehension why Republicans refuse to grant the same extension to seniors trying to understand and evaluate the prescription drug plan."