HEALTH ACCESS ALERT

Saturday, November 22, 2003

* MEDICARE BILL BARELY PASSES HOUSE

* Senator Feinstein One a Few Senators on Fence; Senate Vote Monday

* CALL/FAX SENATOR FEINSTEIN NOW!

Early this morning, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a major bill to reshape Medicare. It now heads to the Senate for debate today and a vote on Monday.

After debating this issue in the middle of the night, the Republican majority held open the voting period–what is normally a 17-minute vote–for three hours, from 3:00am to 6:00am, setting a new House record. It looked like the bill would be defeated, since the vote stood at 218 against and 216 for the bill for most of that time.

The vote was largely along party lines, with Democrats opposing the bill, and Republicans supporting. However, twenty-five mostly conservative Republicans voted against the bill, and ultimately 12 Democrats voted for it.

They had to bring in Tommy Thompson, and finally woke up the President to intervene. Ultimately, they got two Republican votes to switch from no to yes, and then they tallied the votes. With some other switching (among them California Representative Cal Dooley switching his vote to be in support), the final vote was 220-215.

POSITION: Health Access California and many other groups oppose the Medicare bill because of the multiple provisions that seek to undermine the program that provides basic health coverage to nearly 4 million seniors. In addition, the prescription drug benefit offered is structured to be at best inadequate and at worst harmful.

ATTACHED is a Health Access fact sheet with overall concerns and specific information on the hundreds of thousands of California seniors and people with disabilities that will actually be worse off under this proposal.

ACTION: Any last-minute calls to Senator Diane Feinstein are needed to urge her to vote NO on the bill and to support a filibuster.

* For phone calls, Senator Feinstein’s office numbers are:

Washington, DC: 202-224-3841

San Francisco: 415-393-0707

Los Angeles: 310-914-7300

San Diego: 619-231-9712

Fresno: 559-485-7430

* For letters, here are Senator Feinstein’s fax numbers:

Washington, DC: 202-228-3954

San Francisco: 415-393-0710

Los Angeles: 310-914-7318

San Diego: 619-231-1108

Fresno: 559-485-9689



Anthony E. Wright

Health Access

1127 11th St., #234, Sacramento, CA 95814

Ph: 916-442-2308, Fx: 916-497-0921

awright@health-access.org

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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