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Contact: John Gentzel, Communications Director, 202-225-4315

Gerlach Supports Efforts to Waive Prescription Drug Plan Late Enrollment Penalty

Gerlach Discusses Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit (May 18)


Washington, May 19 -  Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA-06) released the following statement today during a press conference for H.R. 3599, bipartisan legislation that would eliminate for this year the late enrollment penalty for seniors interested in signing up for Medicare’s new prescription drug benefit. This legislation, introduced Wednesday by Congresswoman Nancy Johnson of Connecticut, is similar to H.R. 4557, the Medicare Prescription Drug Late Enrollment Penalty Repeal Act of 2005 that Congressman Gerlach introduced in December.

“This is a common-sense, fair way to honor our Medicare eligible veterans and seniors who are interested in this new program but haven’t signed up yet. Many of our nation’s seniors have already taken advantage of this voluntary benefit. Seniors, their children and grandchildren should not be in any way penalized for taking their time to figure out this new benefit. If my colleagues on the other side of the isle had spent as much time helping seniors sign-up for the benefit as they did trashing it, we may not be in this situation. But we are and now Congress must take action. Waiving the late enrollment fee is the right thing to do and will make the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit an even greater success.”

More than 38 million Americans signed up for the Medicare prescription drug
plan by the May 15 deadline. In the months leading up to the deadline, Congressman Gerlach held numerous town hall meetings throughout the area to help 6th District seniors sign up for the new, voluntary benefit.

“It’s not fair to place a financial penalty on those seniors who don’t need prescription medications now but might in the future,” Rep. Gerlach said previously. “We need to make it easier – not harder – for our nation’s poorest seniors to get the lifesaving medications they desperately need and this new benefit, without the penalty in place, will do just that.”


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