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Commentary

Drug Prescription Plan Works For Seniors
Candace Miller, Detroit News, 7-12-06

Michigan Representative Candice Miller argues that the new Medicare plan is providing the care that seniors need without the problems that critics had warned would accompany the new system.

The 100,925 seniors from my congressional district who signed up for this benefit will save an estimated $111 million on their drug bills this year alone. This is money that can finance other needs, such as visits with grandchildren, mortgage payments or simply a more enjoyable and secure retirement.

Many critics attack the fact that it isn't a huge "one size fits all" government program. Instead, it allows private insurers to offer competing plans, which is not only reducing costs to the government, but also to the beneficiaries.

Premiums for the plan were originally anticipated to be $37 per month, but because of competition the average premium is only $24 per month. And low–income seniors are experiencing even more savings, often paying little or no premium, co–pay or deductible.

In addition, the entire Medicare program may save money due to its efficiency in keeping seniors healthy, which means more savings for taxpayers as well. If a senior's heart remains healthy because he or she is receiving the drugs necessary to avoid costly surgery, that individual will not only lead a better life, but our overburdened health care system will be relieved and our taxpayers will save money. And the expected drop in cost of Medicare over the next 10 years is more than $180 billion over original estimates, meaning savings for seniors and taxpayers will continue well into the future.

Despite the attacks of the critics and detractors, Medicare Part D is working.



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