Spotlight ● Health Care
For Immediate Release: 
May 8, 2006
Contact Info: 

» 5. Nearly Half of Seniors are Unaware of May 15 Deadline and Its Implications

According to a poll by the independent health care research group the Kaiser Family Foundation, "only 55% of seniors realize the deadline is May 15." [USA Today, 4/25/06]

In addition, the Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that "Only 53% know enrolling after the deadline will cost 1% more per month."  [USA Today, 4/25/06]

» 4. Seniors Receiving Inadequate and Incorrect Information from the Medicare Hotline

“Federal investigators [from the GAO] posing as senior citizens found that Medicare’s operators routinely failed to give callers accurate and complete information about the government’s new drug benefit.” [WSJ, 5/4/06]

According to the GAO Report, “investigators said that about one-third of their calls resulted in faulty responses or no response at all because of disconnected calls.” [WSJ, 5/4/06]

Even more alarming, “when it came to one of the most important questions, operators provided the right answer only 41% of the time. That question concerned which drug plan cost the least for a beneficiary based on certain drug needs.” [WSJ, 5/4/06]

» 3. Only one in four low-income senior citizens have enrolled

"With the deadline looming, about 5.7 million of the 42 million seniors and disabled people eligible for the drug program have not signed up. Government officials and outside advocates say the response has been lowest among those who stand to reap the greatest benefit from the program: the one-third of senior citizens who are low-income.

Families USA, an advocacy group, estimates that fewer than one in four low-income senior citizens have enrolled, despite an expensive government outreach to educate people." [Washington Post , 5/10/06 ]

» 2. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that 1 million more beneficiaries would choose to enroll this year if deadline is extended

"We estimate that about 1 million of those beneficiaries [who have not enrolled yet] would enroll in Part D in 2006 (i.e. sooner than they would have otherwise) if the intitial enrollment period were extended through the end of this calendar year." [letter to Rep. Pete Stark from the Congressional Budget Office ]

» 1. The Medicare Prescription Drug Bill is Exhibit A in the Republicans' Culture of Corruption

The Republican Culture of Corruption created a program that:

-lets insurance companies – not seniors – make the important decisions about their health care

-is extremely confusing for seniors

-is leaving many seniors behind

-prohibits the government from negotiating the lowest price possible for seniors

-allowed many involved in crafting this bill to secure multi-million-dollar jobs with the very industries it benefits

-is enforcing an arbitrary deadline and slapping a Medicare tax on unsuspecting seniors.