Today’s Unanswered Question on the GOP’s Health Care Hypocrisy: “Why are you taking away seniors’ money?”

Jan 5, 2011 Issues: Health Care

Washington, D.C. — Today, Congressman Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), a chief deputy whip in the Democratic leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives, demanded that Republicans explain why their reverse and repeal health reform plan does not protect the $250 rebate seniors received in 2010 to cover the cost of prescription drugs.
“What could be more wrongheaded during an economic downturn than taking away money from seniors? Yet, that’s act number one in the Republican takeover of Congress,” said Congressman Crowley. “All Americans are struggling to pay their bills and meet their financial obligations, but few more than seniors. Republicans are responding to this by requiring seniors to reach into their pockets and give back the money they received to help cover the cost of their prescription medications. What’s next – charging seniors interest for the rebate?”
Under the Affordable Care Act, seniors who were caught in the prescription drug coverage gap, or “donut hole” received a $250 rebate in 2010. Last year, an estimated four million seniors received this rebate check.  Seniors are also scheduled to receive additional discounts on prescription drugs so by 2020 any gap in coverage will be fully closed. The Republicans’ repeal legislation would cancel these rebates as if they never existed, forcing millions of seniors to repay the federal government for the money they have already received.

Congressman Crowley is a seven-term representative from the 7th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx. He is a member of the Ways and Means Committee and is one of nine chief deputy whips in the Democratic leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives. Most recently, Crowley spearheaded a call for Republican members of Congress who support the repeal of the Affordable Care Act to “walk the walk” by declining their own taxpayer-subsidized health care and forgo enrollment in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP).