Bush Labeled “Senior Friendly”

Seniors Hail Prescription Drug Action

Statement By 60 Plus Association President Jim Martin

At long last, senior citizens all across our great land can expect action on a prescription drug plan that will work. President Bush, while on the campaign trail in 2000, in a Rose Garden ceremony on July 12, 2001 and on numerous occasions while on-the-stump for candidates vying for office in the mid-term elections of 2002, promised action on this difficult issue. And he’s making good on that promise now.

As the President declared in his State of The Union address this evening, Medicare reform is one of his Administration’s primary goals and that includes a variety of options for seniors when purchasing their prescription medications. This is a gutsy move by a gutsy President — for indeed, he’ll no doubt face the demagoguery that always accompanies strong initiatives such as Medicare reform. Seniors are sick and tired of name-calling and foot-dragging. Results are what is needed and needed now. Bi-partisan efforts in the past to modernize Medicare have gone aborning; Senators John Breaux (D-LA) and Bill Frist (R-TN) tried to accomplish this in the 106th, only to have hopes dashed at the altar of Congressional inactivity.

*America is losing its best physicians owing to liability insurance gone haywire. Medicare needs reform.

*States all across America are banding together to creatively address out-of-control prescription drug costs. Medicare needs reform.

*A patient’s bill of rights, squared with HMO accountability, is necessary. Medicare needs reform.

*Drugs are coming across our borders, unchecked and unsupervised, all for cost expediencies that could well lead to serious health consequences. Medicare needs reform.

*Medicare, first passed in 1965, (and I was chief-of-staff to Congressman Edward J. Gurney, R- FL, who voted for it) could not have accounted for the great strides in health care that we enjoy in the United States today. We live longer and live better — witness my 86-year-old Mom and my 103-year-old Stepfather — but there’s a price to be paid. The federal government presently picks up better than 45% of the nation’s health care tab. That cannot continue. Medicare needs reform.

We applaud President Bush for his promise made — and his promise kept. Seniors have waited a very long time for a health care system that offers modern results with affordable options. The time for Congress to act is now.

Change and real reform is never easy. The President wants to grow the economy and create jobs. He wants to bring health care reform into the 21st century. He wants to make America less reliant on foreign energy. He wants to meet homelessness and despair with a compassionate, conservative agenda that he saw work while he was Governor of Texas. And of course, he wants to preserve the peace and the security of our nation in these troubled times as America fights a different war.

Make no mistake about it. We are at war and have been for 18 months. For those who hit the twin towers, the Pentagon and God only knows how many more thousands who would have died had it not been for the supreme sacrifices made by those heroes on Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania, these enemies of the human race would have used nuclear bombs had they access to them. That is a sobering, chilling fact of this war, which the American public must come to grips with.

Bracing the U.S. for this continuing conflict with an enemy that may not wear a military uniform isn’t easy. Deciding how to tap energy sources right here in America while balancing our fragile environment isn’t easy. Doing away with onerous measures such as double taxation on dividends — dividends that so many seniors rely upon in their golden years — isn’t easy. But this President seems more than willing to invest his political capital to accomplish what he believes is right for America. Right on, Mr. President. We ‘seasoned citizens’ thank you.