Senator Tom Harkin says the new Medicare prescription drug cards seniors will be able to buy, starting Monday, do not guarantee seniors will be able to get cheaper drugs. Harkin says the discounts do not apply to all drugs, but only to one drug in each therapeutic class. In addition, Harkin says card sponsors are not required to cover a patient’s preferred drug, and may change prices on a weekly basis. Harkin, who is a democrat, calls the program “a pig in a poke.” Harkin says he remains skeptical of the republican-crafted Medicare prescription drug plan which he voted against. Harkin says “seniors in America get a plastic promise” on Monday. He says it would make more sense for the government to bargain with drug companies for reduced prices for the 41 million Americans who are on Medicare. But the prescription drug benefit package which President Bush signed prevents that. Harkin’s also critical of the ads the Bush Administration is running, touting the program. Harkin says the General Accounting Office is preparing a report, trying to determine how much money was spent developing the ads and then placing them on broadcast outlets.
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