Democrats say GOP drug plan misses mark
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Democrats complained on Saturday that House Republicans' Medicare prescription drug plan is much the same as a car dealer trying to sell a new auto sight unseen.
In the weekly Democratic radio address, U.S. Rep. John Dingell of Michigan accused Republicans of trying to pass off a "phantom benefit" and said the plan relies on private insurance plans that don't yet exist.
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce approved the Republican plan earlier this week, clearing the way for House passage of it next week.
But Dingell, the senior Democrat on the committee, said it would cover only 20 percent of senior citizens' drug costs over the next 10 years and do nothing to control escalating costs of prescription drugs.
Dingell proposed a more generous plan, suggesting seniors should be able to choose to pay a voluntary premium of $25 a month. For that, he said, the government would pay 80 percent of drug costs after a $100 deductible. The plan would limit yearly out-of-pocket costs to $2,000.
"Democrats have a plan that would offer senior citizens the same drug benefits that members of Congress and other federal government employees get today," he said.
Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, was quoted in The New York Times calling the House Republican bill "preposterous" for leaving a gap in coverage for people needing more than $2,000 worth of prescription drugs per year.
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