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Seniors wary of Medicare drug legislation


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WASHINGTON, Sep 03, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll says a majority of seniors and others think the drug benefit being developed in Congress would not do enough.

Slightly more people think the dueling plans in the Senate and House would make things worse.

Both bills incorporate President George Bush's desire to allocate $400 billion over the next decade for a prescription drug benefit.

However, many seniors polled said they fear the the new law will undermine their existing prescription drug benefits from former employers.

Democrats have said they are determined to preserve seniors' "entitlement" to health coverage that came with Medicare's creation while Republicans have long favored cost controls and an increased role for the private sector within Medicare, USA Today reported.

Meanwhile, Congress is loathe to repeat past failures when in 1989 it had to repeal Medicare's catastrophic medical expenses coverage that included high drug bills because of an up to $800 surtax that infuriated seniors. Then in 1993, President Bill Clinton and the first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton attempted to create a universal health care plan.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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