Menendez, Lautenberg, Pallone: Cut Medicare Red Tape For Seniors, Disabled

Menendez, Lautenberg, Pallone: Cut Medicare Red Tape For Seniors, Disabled

Washington - United States Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), joined by U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, today called on the Bush administration to cut the endless web of Medicare bureaucracy that is affecting millions of New Jersey seniors and persons with disabilities. In a letter to Mark McClellan, director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the New Jersey lawmakers expressed concern about the inconsistencies and difficulty seniors and persons with disabilities are having in getting their drugs.

The Bush administration promised the moon and stars with their Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, said Menendez. But all theyve manage to do is tangle millions of seniors and persons with disabilities into a web of bureaucracy, red tape, and ineptitude. We are calling on the Bush administration once again to fix the glaring inconsistencies and confusing regulations that are impacting those most in need of a stable, robust drug benefit.

Many drugs theoretically covered under the Medicare drug benefit are not readily available because of the drug program's complex tangle of rules, paperwork and telephone delays, Lautenberg said. All this red tape is keeping patients from getting the drugs they need. This is just one more example of the incompetence of the Bush administration.

"Signing up for a prescription drug plan is confusing enough, seniors should not face additional hurdles in order to receive the drugs they need," Pallone said. "The Bush administration must eliminate some of the administrative red tape that makes it more difficult for doctors to give our seniors the care they deserve."

The three lawmakers previously called on the Bush administration to extend the Medicare Prescription Drug enrollment deadline until the end of the year, and for the administration to require prescription drug managers, managed care plans and other private health insurers to promptly pay health care claims submitted by pharmacists, physicians and hospitals. These issues, in addition to todays letter, are representative of the disorganized and dysfunctional implementation of the Medicare Prescription Drug program.

"We are concerned about the inconsistencies and difficulty seniors and persons with disabilities are having in getting their drugs through the prior authorization and exception procedures," the lawmakers wrote.

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