(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Senate has passed a flawed plan to restructure the Medicare program and add prescription drugs. Sen. Murray, who voted against the measure, released the following statement.

“The Senate has passed a bill that fundamentally changes the Medicare program while adding a meager ‘drug benefit.’

I have spent years working to add a real drug benefit to Medicare, to help ensure seniors and the disabled have access to life-saving prescription drugs. Although there are provisions in the bill that are important, like increased payments for doctors and rural healthcare providers, this bill does not come close to what is needed for Washington state seniors.

This bill would still saddle seniors with high out-of-pocket costs, while providing a meager drug benefit.

The bill also makes fundamental changes to the Medicare system, by forcing seniors to pay higher premiums to stay in the traditional Medicare program. The only way seniors can avoid higher premiums is by switching from Medicare to private insurance.

The Administration’s own data show that average Medicare premiums will initially jump 25 percent. Over time, the increase will become higher and higher.

This bill represents tremendous uncertainty for Washington seniors. Under this plan our seniors will face increased costs, higher out of pocket expenses and many could lose their traditional Medicare coverage. This bill could radically change health care delivery for seniors in Washington state, instead of simply providing the drug benefit that seniors asked for.

Don’t take my word for it. As this bill begins to take effect over the next several years, seniors themselves will feel the pinch.

Although I did not support this bill, I will continue to stand up for my state’s seniors and will work to improve the flaws in this bill.”

Senator Murray's full remarks

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