By

Washington

President Bushs proposal to provide Medicare beneficiaries with a discount prescription drug plan is drawing mild praise from health insurance representatives, who say that more needs to be done.

Under the Bush plan, private companies that manage large prescription drug benefit programs would, under the auspices of Medicare, negotiate discount prices with drug manufacturers.

These discount prices would then be passed on to beneficiaries who subscribe to a companys discount drug program.

A company could charge a sign-up fee of up to $25.

Bush says that the plan is an interim solution to the problem of high prescription drug costs, but that he still plans to advance a major overhaul of the Medicare program.

The Alliance to Improve Medicare (AIM), a Washington coalition including health insurers and providers that support Medicare reform, praises the Bush administration for recognizing the problem, but notes that the Bush plan is a short-term solution.

“AIM urges Congress and the administration to continue to work toward a long-term, integrated drug benefit for all seniors,” the group says.

Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a Washington-based consumer group, calls the Bush plan “disappointing.”

He says the plan “offers precious little relief for seniors.”

While it might help some seniors, Pollack says, it is no substitute for expanding Medicare prescription drug coverage for seniors.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, July 20, 2001. Copyright 2001 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.


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