10/29/03 2:13:00 PM
To: National Desk - Contact: Ilana Sabban of the Alliance for Retired Americans, 202-974 8264, e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://www.retiredamericans.org
WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a statement by Edward
F. Coyle, executive director, Alliance for Retired Americans:
"In his remarks today, President Bush proved once again that he is looking
out for the profits of the pharmaceutical and insurance industries instead of the health care of seniors. What the administration
and Congressional conferees are supporting will increase premiums and result in the loss of benefits for millions of retirees.
"The prescription drug benefit being debated in conference committee will
force Medicare to compete with private insurers, the first step toward privatization of Medicare. When the president says
he's offering seniors choices he means the choices of HMOs and PPOs, and we have seen private insurers fail seniors before.
"Rather than using the power of the government to lower the skyrocketing
costs of prescription drugs, the President wants to use the power of the government to help his pharmaceutical and insurance
industry friends make more profits.
"The Alliance for Retired Americans, which represents 3 million retirees,
has long fought for a prescription drug benefit for seniors under Medicare. We oppose this legislation because it privatizes
Medicare, has huge gaps in coverage, threatens employer-provided retiree coverage and does nothing to bring down prescription
drug prices. The administration and Congress should be working to provide seniors with a prescription drug benefit under Medicare
that is affordable, universal, comprehensive and voluntary.
"The Alliance still believes no bill is better than a bad bill. The president
says we are almost there. We believe we still have a long way to go."