Republicans in the Iowa House want to set up a toll-free telephone hotline to help the elderly find out where to buy cheaper prescription drugs. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, says it will establish a “one-call, one-stop shop” for additional information about drug discount programs that may be available to seniors. Republicans tried this last year, but democrat Governor Tom Vilsack vetoed the idea. “We are going to try again,” Rants says. Rants accuses Democrats of scuttling such proposals in 2004 because they wanted prescription drug costs to be an election-year issue. When he vetoed the idea last year, Vilsack said helping seniors get lower-cost prescription drugs continues to be one of his priorities, but the proposal — in Vilsack’s opinion — is counterproductive. Vilsack says operating a toll-free hotline diverts money from other crucial state needs and duplicates information already available to seniors through the federal government. He says creating a second, statewide information system “creates the risk of conflicting and inaccurate information” being provided to Iowans who call the hotline.
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