Decision Comes Days After Senate Hearing Demonstrates Overwhelming Support for Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Herb Kohl, Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, today decried the decision of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to terminate SeniorCare, a monumentally successful program in Wisconsin that provides roughly 103,000 low-income seniors with better drug coverage at a lower cost than the federal government's prescription drug program, Medicare Part D. This decision, made hastily only days after the Special Committee on Aging held a hearing to urge the preservation of SeniorCare, will bring the program to an end on June 30, 2007.

"This is a short-sighted decision by the Administration to kill a successful program that saves money and simplifies health care for seniors. During our Aging Committee hearing last week we provided plenty of evidence that SeniorCare offers superior prescription drug coverage to that of Medicare Part D, costs taxpayers less, and seniors in Wisconsin widely prefer to keep it," said Kohl. "I am disappointed that the Administration chose to ignore the facts and the will of the people in Wisconsin."

Leslie Norwalk, Acting Administrator for CMS, testified on behalf of the Bush Administration at last week's hearing, after which she listened as Governor Jim Doyle and other Wisconsin SeniorCare advocates made the case for allowing the program to continue operating in Wisconsin. Witnesses echoed what Chairman Kohl said in his opening statement: that instead of abolishing SeniorCare, the Bush Administration would be better off using the program as a nationwide model for affordable drug coverage.

# # #

More information on last week's hearing can be found here: http://aging.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=271472