What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : The Chronically Ill : S. 1. Prescription Drug Benefit/Vote to Provide Seniors' with a Prescription Drug Benefit Through Medicare. (2003 senate Roll Call 227)
 Who: All Members
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S. 1. Prescription Drug Benefit/Vote to Provide Seniors' with a Prescription Drug Benefit Through Medicare.
senate Roll Call 227     Jun 18, 2003
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

As the prices of prescription drugs continue to increase, many senior citizens-and especially those living on fixed incomesare unable to afford the drugs they need to stay healthy. While both Democrats and Republicans have attempted to solve the problem, the two parties have very different ideas about how best to achieve a positive outcome for America's seniors. Democrats and Progressives, for instance, favor adding a prescription drug benefit to the Medicare health insurance program. Doing so, they argue, will insure that all 40 million beneficiaries of Medicare will have access to inexpensive prescription drugs. Republicans, conversely, support proposals which provide prescription drug coverage to seniors through private insurance companies rather than Medicare. To date, the debate over whether to provide prescription drug coverage through the public sector or the private sector has yet to be resolved. With Republicans in control of both houses of Congress and the White House, however, a prescription drug bill which adheres to the Republican's private-sector approach has a good chance of passage. During debate on the measure, Senator Stabenow (D-MI) offered an amendment which would have added a prescription drug benefit to the Medicare program to supplement the privately-provided drug coverage already contained in the bill. In the view of Progressives, Stabenow's measure was the most effective way to insure that all seniors would enjoy prescription drug coverage at a reasonable cost. The Republican approach, Progressives argued, would rely too heavily on private insurance companies whose main goal was to generate profits rather than provide comprehensive drug coverage to seniors. Every Republican voted against the Stabenow amendment and, with a handful of Democrats, the measure was defeated 37-58.

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