WALTER CRONKITE HOSTS NEW ANTI-MEDICARE PLAN VIDEO-Andrew Stelzer

04/01/04

Last week, Richard Foster, the man in charge of Medicare, testified to congress that he told the Bush administration that their new Medicare plan would cost more than 100 billion dollars more than Bush claimed it would. Foster said the administration threatened to fire him if he let the information go public. Now that the truth has come out, and the plan has already been passed, all that remains to be done is inform senior citizens that the plan they thought would save them and their country money, is not what Bush made it out to be. Today, a project called “the Medicare road show� paid a visit to the university of South Florida and provided one of the first showings of a new video about the negative aspects of the Medicare plan. They are hoping it will inform seniors of the negative consequences of the new law; in an effort to try and reach a widespread audience, the video is narrated by ex-CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite. WMNF’s Andrew Stelzer has more.

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Although the new Medicare law was signed this past December, it won’t go into effect until 2006. In the meantime, advocates for seniors are trying to educate the public about what the new law will mean to them—mostly higher prices for prescription drugs. Now Walter Cronkite has added his voice to those who are unsatisfied with the new Medicare system.

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Cronkite is the narrator of a news 12-minute video that explains the problems with the new plan. He says there are many disappointing aspects, most importantly the “donut hole�, a aspect of the Medicare law which means that seniors will only have their prescription drug costs covered up until a few thousand dollars, then the next couple of thousand wont be covered.

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A recent survey by the Kaiser family foundation found two-thirds of seniors said they closely followed the Medicare debate, but only 15 percent said they understood the law very well. The video is being promoted as a tool for educating groups of seniors about what to expect. Connie Ford miller is a volunteer with the Florida consumer action network; she says there are efforts underway to stop the new bill.

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To receive a copy of the Medicare videotape, call 202-628-3030 or go to www.familiesusa.org

For WMNF, I’m Andrew Stelzer

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