Medicare Educational Reform

The huge Medicare Reform Bill that was signed by President Bush last year has left a lot of unanswered questions for many seniors.

In Nacogdoches, Congressman Max Sandlin of Marshall told a group of seniors that he voted against the bill because it provides no real benefits to them. Sandlin says the measure does provide billions of dollars in subsidies to private insurance companies and HMO's, but that those plans are not even available to rural senior citizens.

"There are gaps in the coverage. They'll be required to pay premiums even if they don't have coverage. There is no competition, and there's nothing to do to bring down the cost to them. It gives them absolutely no protection and doesn't even kick in until 2006, after the election," said Sandlin.

Supporters say the medicare changes help lead to better private coverage for seniors. But Sandlin and other opponents say once seniors learn how the new Medicare reform system works they'll see its shortcomings.

Sandlin is speaking throughout the district as he campaigns for re-election in November.