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Chamber Praises Congressional Action on Medicare Reforms

Monday, November 24, 2003 - 7:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Chamber of Commerce praised House and Senate lawmakers for their hard work in creating a final Medicare bill, that President Bush can sign, that takes the first step in modernizing Medicare and provides a prescription drug benefit to seniors.

"Modernizing Medicare is urgently needed before the baby boomer generation's 77 million members become eligible to collect benefits," said Bruce Josten, U.S. Chamber executive vice president. "And with employers being the source of retirement health care for 12 million seniors, it is critical this bill allows businesses the flexibility to integrate the new prescription drug benefit into their existing retiree health plans, while allowing opportunities to partner with Medicare to provide seniors more comprehensive coverage."

The Chamber led a coalition of companies and associations representing employer interests in support of efforts to enact comprehensive Medicare reform. The bill includes significant reforms to Medicare structure and delivery system, establishes a much needed prescription drug benefit, and offers preventive health care services and disease management-type programs. It also grants employers greater flexibility and the options necessary to continue to provide retiree health coverage on a voluntary basis. The Chamber also strongly supported the establishment of Health Savings Accounts for businesses of all sizes.

"This agreement will help employers stay in the game of providing voluntary health coverage to their retirees," said Josten. "With the President's signature, Medicare will allow seniors to choose their level of coverage and access to prescription drugs, while controlling the program's growing costs and ensuring Medicare is available for future generations."

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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