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MEDICARE PRESCRIPTIONS AARP looks to Traficant for missing piece



Published: Tue, July 31, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Ninety percent of AARP Chapter 4611 East would benefit from a Medicare prescription drug program.

YOUNGSTOWN -- AARP used a missing piece of a birthday cake to demonstrate that it is not a "piece of cake" for uninsured and underinsured people to get expensive prescription drugs.

Olla Tate and Lillian Morris, members of AARP Chapter 4611 East, delivered the birthday cake with the missing piece to U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr.'s office to urge him to support legislation to make prescription drugs part of the Medicare program.

They were among American Association of Retired Persons members across the country delivering cakes to their national representatives with the message: "Add the Missing Piece. Rx in Medicare Now."

The cakes were delivered Monday -- Medicare's 36th birthday.

Tate and Morris estimated 90 percent of the 40 members of Chapter 4611 would benefit from a Medicare drug program.

People go without food to buy necessary prescription drugs or buy partial prescriptions because they are so costly, Morris said.

Traficant, of Poland, D-17th, was not in his Youngstown office, but an aide provided a statement from the congressman, in which he said he is a co-sponsor of legislation that would amend the Social Security Act to improve access to prescription drugs for low-income Medicare beneficiaries.

Traficant has said he would vote for the measure if it comes to the House floor.

Tate, a former president of Chapter 4611, and Morris, its program chairwoman, urged AARP members and other senior citizens who favor a prescription drug program under Medicare to write, e-mail or fax their congressional representatives.

AARP, on its Web site, said there are millions of older citizens with inadequate or no drug coverage and are in need of access to an affordable benefit under Medicare.

AARP's message to Congress is to urge quick action and include three key components of drug prescription coverage: Make it affordable, voluntary and available to all.




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