SANTA FE, N.M. – New Mexico seniors and disabled people with very low incomes will be forced to pay much more for medication they need to live because of President Bush’s new prescription drug law, according to a new report released today by the Institute for America’s Future. The Bush administration claims the new Medicare law provides the poorest people in New Mexico much-needed relief from the skyrocketing cost of medicine in America. Today’s report shows that New Mexico seniors with incomes below the federal poverty level will pay $13.5 million more for prescriptions over the first five years of the new Medicare law.
Institute for America’s Future Co-director Roger Hickey noted that today’s findings disprove the Bush administration’s assertions about the new Medicare law.
“This report shows what we knew all along,” said Hickey. “The new Medicare law gives handouts to drug and insurance companies and sticks New Mexico’s most vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities with higher costs than they pay today.”
Supporters of the new Medicare law have touted it as helpful to low income seniors despite evidence to the contrary. President Bush told people across the country that seniors with the highest drug bills would save the most on their prescriptions and seniors with the greatest need would get the most help in his radio address on Nov. 22, 2003.
Although many people from New Mexico who currently receive benefits from the state Medicaid program will be forced to switch to the new Medicare program under the new law, Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., promised that people in New Mexico who already have a plan they’re satisfied with, “don’t have to make a change at all,” according to the Las Cruces Sun News (Shurtz, April 7, 2004 )
Yolanda Pena of Albuquerque is a member of ACORN and is working with advocates for seniors and the disabled statewide to fix the new Medicare law so people from New Mexico don’t have to choose between buying medication or food to live.
“The new Medicare prescription drug law was said to be historic and to offer much needed relief to families who can’t afford medication,” said Pena. “Working families in New Mexico are still struggling to pay for the drugs they need.”
The Institute for America’s Future report also found that people in New Mexico who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid would have to spend $3600 out of their own pockets to receive the full prescription drug coverage. This sum is over half of the yearly income of the lowest income people from New Mexico.
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**NOTE: Media representatives interested in more information about the New Mexico Medicare report should visit www.ourfuture.org for a complete copy.**