Alabama
1:02 pm
Thu November 20, 2003

Push Begins for Prescription Drug Benefit Plan

Montgomery, AL – The Alabama Chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons is supporting a new Medicare bill now awaiting Congressional approval.
Chapter spokesperson Ron Scott says the group is excited about the plan, even if it's not exactly what seniors wanted. Scott says the measure would give seniors the chance to get a prescription drug benefit through the Medicare program. He says A-A-R-P is promoting the legislation despite its inclusion of premium and deductible payments.
An estimated 700-thousand Alabamians would be eligible to receive benefits included in the bill.
Meanwhile, the Alabama Silver-Haired Legislature wants the state to spend more money on state-funded prescription drug programs. It also wants to abolish Alabama's food tax.
The group wants to raise the cigarette tax to offset the costs of the prescription drug program and the loss of revenue from removing the food tax.
The group reps also plan to lobby the Legislature to allocate 25 percent of any possible Exxon Mobil settlement to the Alabama Senior Services Trust Fund. Exxon is expected to appeal a record 12 billion dollar verdict delivered against it in a lawsuit over natural gas royalties.