Freelance journalist Erlich investigated the Medicare drug program for The California Report, a statewide news program airing on National Public Radio stations. He said today: "Many people are aware of the bureaucratic problems with implementing Medicare Plan D. But even after those are settled, tremendous problems remain. Six million people in the U.S. are enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid. They were forcibly enrolled into Plan D, and the vast majority now must pay more for their drugs. Co-payments may range from a few dollars to over one hundred dollars per month. People who are HIV-positive, receiving assistance through the AIDS Drugs Assistance Program, are hit even harder. I interviewed one woman who will have to pay over 40 percent of her monthly disability income for health expenses -- which were free before Plan D." Reese discussed with WMNF the reasons why the Bush administration opposes negotiating with drug companies to achieve lower prescription prices and the efforts to make the plan more user-friendly.

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