Democrat Julie Thomas, the Cedar Rapids doctor who’s challenging Republican Congressman Jim Leach of Iowa City, says the prescription drug benefit Leach has supported is a mere “placebo” because it “lacks active ingredients.”Thomas says it doesn’t cover all seniors, and it merely provides money to seniors who’ll have to go out and get private insurance to cover their prescription drugs costs, which she says will be confusing for the elderly. She says there needs to be a direct benefit with low administrative costs.Leach says unlike the Democrat-controlled Senate, the U-S House has passed a prescription drug plan, which he supported.Leach says the House passed a 350-billion dollar plan that gives 100 percent coverage to the poorest elderly and any senior who spends more than 34-hundred dollars on prescription drugs would have prescriptions above that level covered. Leach says to go above and beyond that would push the cost way above a trillion dollars annually. Leach says there was another reason he voted for the House bill.He says the bill included millions of extra dollars for Iowa hospitals and doctors to boost Medicare reimbursement rates. Leach says the President would sign the House bill into law, while the Democrat alternative Thomas favors hasn’t even passed the Senate.Leach says the House bill is “pretty credible” but he’d support being a little “more generous.” Leach says he doesn’t want “to play political games with the elderly.” Leach says he “wants substantive action.” The two candidates made their comments on Iowa Public Television. Leach and Thomas are competing for Iowa’s Second District Congressional seat.
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