Administration says 'no' to delaying Medicare drug benefit start-up

Share this content:

House members have so far not convinced the Bush administration to delay the start of the Medicare prescription drug plan as a way to offset the costs of rebuilding following Hurricane Katrina.

"We're not delaying Part D [the drug benefit]. I don't know how many times I can say that," Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Mark McClellan said earlier this week.

White House spokesman Trent Duffy also dismissed the proposed delay, saying the administration had made a commitment to the nation's elderly.

In launching Operation Offset, a plan to fund recovery efforts on the Gulf Coast, members of the  House Republican Study Committee proposed delaying implementation of the drug benefit. Delaying the start of the new drug plan until January 2006 would save $40 billion, said Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), chair of the committee.

Spending on recovery in the Gulf Coast region following Katrina is estimated to reach $200 billion, which likely will be tacked on to the federal deficit, many members of Congress point out.


Next Article in News