What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : The Chronically Ill : S. 1. Prescription Drug Benefit/Vote to Institute a Financial Means Test for the Medicare Program. (2003 senate Roll Call 261)
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S. 1. Prescription Drug Benefit/Vote to Institute a Financial Means Test for the Medicare Program.
senate Roll Call 261     Jun 26, 2003
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

During debate on the prescription drug bill, Senator Nickles (R-OK) introduced an amendment which would institute a means test for the Medicare program. Nickles's amendment stipulates that individuals who earn over $100,000 per year would be required to pay higher premiums than middle and lower-income individuals to remain in the Medicare program. While numerous Democrats supported this approach as a way to increase the inflow of money into the Medicare program, Progressives opposed the amendment because they worried that higher-income individuals, who already pay more into the system through their payroll taxes, would opt out of the program early in their career and thereby deplete the Medicare trust fund of resources. Moreover, Progressives feared that Nickles's amendment would transform Medicare into a welfare program for lower-income seniors and would offer an inferior benefits as a result of a contracted tax base. Based on these objections, Senator Baucus (D-MT) motioned to table (strike down) the Nickles amendment but the motion was rejected 38-59.

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