What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Pharmaceutical Industry : H.R. 1. Prescription Drug Benefit/Vote on Final Passage of a Bill to Provide Seniors With Drug Coverage Through the Private Sector Rather Than Through the Medicare Program. (2003 house Roll Call 332)
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H.R. 1. Prescription Drug Benefit/Vote on Final Passage of a Bill to Provide Seniors With Drug Coverage Through the Private Sector Rather Than Through the Medicare Program.
house Roll Call 332     Jun 26, 2003
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

The subject of this vote was final passage of a Republican-drafted prescription drug bill which would provide seniors drug coverage either through private insurance plans, if they remained in the Medicare program, or through new private health networks (which function much like preferred provider organizations, or PPO's) if seniors switched out of Medicare. Monthly premiums would be $35 and the annual deductible would be $250 for those who remained in Medicare. Drug expenditures above $2000 and below $4900, however, would not be covered; seniors would have to pay those costs out of their own pocket. Progressives opposed the Republican drug bill because, in their view, drug coverage should be provided through Medicare and not contracted out to private companies for three main reasons. First, Medicare could provide drug coverage to seniors more cheaply than could private plans because the enormous purchasing power of Medicare would allow the government to negotiate cheaper drug prices with drug-makers. Second, unlike the Republicans' proposal, the Democrats' Medicare prescription drug plan does not contain any gaps in drug coverage. Third, Progressives worried that the underlying bill would spawn future efforts by conservatives to privatize health care and destroy the Medicare program. By the thinnest possible margin, the drug bill was adopted on a 216-215 vote.

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