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Paccione Calls For Extension of Medicare Rx Deadline - 5/12/2006

ANGIE PACCIONE FOR CONGRESS
/

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2006
CONTACT GARY CHANDLER (970) 308-0986


PACCIONE CALLS FOR EXTENSION OF MEDICARE Rx DEADLINE


President Bush has a “life-or-death” decision to make, and Musgrave “stands by” while the health of millions of Americans is left in doubt.

 

FORT COLLINS—Rep. Angie Paccione today sent a letter to President Bush urging him to extend the May 15 deadline to sign up for Medicare prescription drug coverage. An estimated 9 million eligible seniors and disabled citizens across the nation will be left without coverage when the deadline passes. They will also be burdened with a late fee if they sign up or change plans after May 15.

“George Bush can prevent a disaster of overwhelming proportions just by extending the deadline,” Paccione said. “Why won’t he act? The prescription drug plan not only has caused a lot confusion for seniors who wish to sign up, but it also has given them no time to sort through all of the fine print.”

Paccione, a candidate for the Colorado’s Fourth Congressional District, also noted Congress’ inaction on HR-3861, which would have extended enrollment till the end of 2006 without a late enrollment penalty, and would have allowed recipients a penalty-free, one-time change in coverage plans up until 2007. Though the bill has 171 cosponsors, it has been held up in the House. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, Paccione’s opponent, did not sponsor the bill.

“President Bush and our so-called leaders in Congress are just standing by while millions of Americans, and thousands of Coloradans, are left without drug coverage,” Paccione said. “This is a life-or-death matter. It will be absolutely devastating to seniors and the disabled, and it will be even more disastrous for minorities.”

This isn’t the first time that Musgrave has taken a hostile stance toward public health. Last year she voted to cut $11.1 billion from Medicare and Medicaid, and to allow hospitals to refuse treatment to Medicaid patients who can’t afford the co-pay.

“Marilyn’s promises to help seniors just don’t ring true,” Paccione said. “We need real leadership in Congress to help solve the problems healthcare patients are facing.”

In 2005, Paccione was House sponsor of a state bill signed into law that makes it a crime to price gouge prescription drug customers during a declared medical emergency. This year, Paccione cosponsored a bill to create a statewide discount prescription drug program. That bill awaits the governor’s signature.

“In the last four years, I’ve worked to reduce the burden of prescription drug prices for Coloradans,” Paccione added. “In Congress, I’ll continue to work to make prescription drugs affordable for all Americans.”

--AP--

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Letter to President Bush

May 12, 2006

Representative Angie Paccione
P.O. Box 1292
Fort Collins, CO 80522

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I am writing to request, on behalf of the people of Colorado’s House District 53 and the people of Colorado, that you extend the May 15 deadline to sign up for the Medicare prescription drug program.

Millions of seniors and people with disabilities nationwide, and thousands here in Colorado, will be shut out from prescription drug coverage once the deadline passes and be penalized for signing up late. This would be disastrous for families, veterans, and the disabled across the United States, and it’s likely to be even more devastating for minority communities. It could mean life or death for countless American citizens.

Experts agree that your estimate that 37 million of the 43 million eligible for prescription drug coverage have signed up is overstated. A more accurate assessment show that 9 million eligible beneficiaries still are not covered.

Since nearly one quarter of those eligible have yet to apply, the only reasonable approach would be to extend the May 15 deadline, preferably to the end of 2006. Thank you for reconsidering your choice not to extend that deadline. The lives and health of millions of Americans rests on your decision.

Respectfully,

Angie Paccione, Representative
Colorado House District 53



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