Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says the proposed prescription drug plan for America’s seniors is “convoluted” and a boon to big business, not the aged. Harkin says it’s turned into a “sweet deal that will provide billions of dollars in bribes to private H-M-Os in the country” and “billions in profits to pharmaceutical companies.” But Harkin says seniors and the disabled will have to pay more, not less. A-A-R-P — the nation’s largest lobbying group for the 50 and older set, has endorsed the plan which has the backing of both the White House and Republican leaders in Congress. Harkin, who is a Democrat, says he’ll vote against it.Harkin says he doesn’t understand why A-A-R-P supports the plan because it “privatizes” Medicare and will force seniors into H-M-Os and private insurance plans rather than the system that’s in place today. Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, a republican, helped craft the plan, which wouldn’t take effect until 2006.
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