PRESIDENT IN SUN CITY CENTER PROMOTING MEDICARE PART D DRUG PLAN-Andrew Stelzer

05/09/06

President Bush was in Florida for the second day in a row today, speaking about the new Medicare part D prescription drug plan, and urging seniors to sign up before the May 15th deadline. After visiting Broward community college early this morning, the President flew to Tampa, and then went to give a speech at a retirement community in Sun City center in Southern Hillsborough County. WMNFs Andrew Stelzer was there and filed this report. -----------------

PRESIDENTIAL SONG

More than 400 people, most of them residents of the Kings Point or Sun City center retirement communities, sat waiting for more than 2 hours to hear the President speak about the new Medicare part D prescription drug plan.

ACT Medicare had provided a lot for people, but it was stale and old, it didn’t provide prescription drug coverage..�

The plan which gives seniors and the disabled dozens of choices of a drug plans to choose from, has been criticized for being confusing.

ACT “I knew when we laid out the idea of choices, it would create confusion for some..a senior would look and 40 choices pop up, we felt it was necessary so that the system can meet needs of consumer..the more choices, the more likely one will fit you..�

Bush said that out of 42 million eligible people, more than 31 million have signed up, and 6 million more have an alternative form of coverage. Those numbers have been called misleading by some seniors advocacy organizations. Today Families USA published a report, which found less than 9 million of those people didn’t have coverage before hand. Many people may be signing up just to avoid the penalty of higher prices later on when they need to use Medicare. But Bush said anyone who doesn’t want to sign up shouldn’t he just wants everyone to look at the plan and determine if it will work for them.

ACT “I'm here don my duty as educator in chief, to say to people round the world, this is a good deal, and its the right thing to do, if the gov makes a promise, we want to make sure that promise lives up to what we told you..we want a modern health care system and we have..�

During the question and answer session, one man complained that he hasn’t seen any brochures describing the new Medicare prescription drug plan. Glenn Wright, the vice president of the democratic club of Sun City center, told the president he thought the plan would help a lot of people, but it needed some changes.

ACT “The program is going to be a lot more expensive because there is no negotiating..Insurance companies can change their formularies, this is legalized bait and switch it’s a danger..third I have a report that poorest people are not being helped…several major changes let Medicare negotiate, stop formulary switch..we can reduce the size..if we don’t bring cost down we will subsidize health cost, because every other country negotiates..ILL GIVE COMMENTS..if a senior doesn’t like it dont sign up..in terms of low-income seniors.a lot of seniors are working hard..there is a philosophical differences between me and you..having feds in it puts them in the middle�

Two women in a row asked the president about the penalty for not signing up before May 15th and whether it could be extended..

ACT “Deadlines are important makes people know there is finality..the idea is here’s the deadline..NEXT..I do want to suggest, there are seniors that need help…there were log jams, no one knows if they are recorded, the internet was logged down, everyone is doing it with the last minute..taxes we can apply for a 6 month reprive…we could help our neighbors, there is a Medicare bus

Bush also spoke about the federal governments investment in alternative fuel sources such as solar, electric hybrid, ethanol, and nuclear—he also called for the elimination of regulations, ion order to allow construction of new oil refineries. That prompted a question about

ACT “I would like to wake one question about the Alaskan pipeline..it doesn’t go to the US. I don’t know where it goes, I can find out..�

Bush headed to Orlando later in the afternoon to give a similar speech. To enroll in the Medicare prescription drug plan before the may 15th deadline, call 1-800 MEDICARE or log onto www.medicare.gov

For WMNF news, I’m Andrew Stelzer

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