Murray Votes for Medicare Prescription Drug Bill

Jun 27 2003

Calls bill “An important step forward"

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Early this morning U.S. Senator Patty Murray voted in favor of a Senate prescription drug plan that would extend benefits to Medicare patients.

While the bill still leaves many gaps and much work still to do, Murray viewed the bill as an important step forward in giving seniors the help they need.

Throughout her time in the Senate, Murray has fought for a prescription drug benefit within Medicare. From helping to draft the MEND Act in the 106th Congress, to working to provide federal funding for prescription drugs during for years – as a member of the Budget Committee, as a co-sponsor the 2002 Graham-Miller-Kennedy bill, and by introducing her Medi-Fair Act, Murray has been an advocate for seniors.

Despite many years of progress, the overall goal of providing seniors with a drug benefit stalled time and again in Congress until this morning’s vote.

Murray’s statement follows:

“Early this morning, the Senate passed a prescription drug benefit for America’s seniors. This plan is not perfect, but I believe that after so many failed attempts it is an important step towards providing the help that seniors have been promised year after year.

As Congress remained locked in policy battles, the costs of prescription drugs continued to skyrocket. Congress could no longer wait to act.

This is certainly not the drug plan I would have written – there are still too many gaps in coverage, too many unfair regional discrepancies, and the bill begins to privatize drug benefits despite the limited success of private insurance in Medicare. But this plan is a step forward and I am hopeful that we can still make improvements before it takes effect in 2006.

I am proud that the bill begins to address the inequity in Medicare reimbursement rates, to bring rural areas in line with urban areas. This will help Washington state, and is a meaningful step towards equity for Washington seniors.

Year after year we have promised our seniors real benefits. I voted for this bill because it is time for Congress to provide prescription drugs – not more promises – to America’s seniors.”