(Extensions of Remarks - August 03, 2001)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1537-E1538]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                             HON. RON PAUL

                                of texas

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, August 2, 2001

  Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce legislation which enhances 
senior citizens' ability to control their health care and use Medicare 
money to pay for prescription drugs. This legislation accomplishes 
these important goals by removing the numerical limitations and sunset 
provisions in the Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSAS) program so 
that all seniors can take advantage of the Medicare MSA option.
  Medicare MSAs consist of a special savings account containing 
Medicare funds for seniors to use for their routine medical expenses, 
including prescription drug costs. Seniors in a Medicare MSA program 
are also provided with a catastrophic insurance policy to cover non-
routine expenses such as major surgery. Under an MSA plan, the choice 
of whether to use Medicare funds for prescription drug costs, or other 
services not available under traditional Medicare such as mamograms, 
are made by the senior, not by bureaucrats and politicians.
  One of the major weaknesses of the Medicare program is that seniors 
do not have the ability to use Medicare dollars to cover the costs of 
prescription medicines, even though prescription drugs represent the 
major health care expenditure for many seniors. Medicare MSAs give 
those seniors who need to use Medicare funds for prescription drugs the 
ability to do so without expanding the power of the federal bureaucracy 
or forcing those seniors who currently have prescription drug coverage 
into a federal one-size-fits-all program.
  Medicare MSAs will also ensure seniors access to a wide variety of 
health care services

[[Page E1538]]

by minimizing the role of the federal bureaucracy. As many of my 
colleagues know, an increasing number of health care providers have 
withdrawn from the Medicare program because of the paperwork burden and 
constant interference with their practice by bureaucrats from the 
Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (previously known as the 
Health Care Financing Administration). The MSA program frees seniors 
and providers from the this burden thus making it more likely that 
quality providers will remain in the Medicare program!
  Mr. Speaker, the most important reason to enact this legislation is 
seniors should not be treated like children and told what health care 
services they can and cannot have by the federal government. We in 
Congress have a duty to preserve and protect the Medicare trust fund 
and keep the promise to America's seniors and working Americans, whose 
taxes finance Medicare, that they will have quality health care in 
their golden years. However, we also have a duty to make sure that 
seniors can get the health care that suits their needs, instead of 
being forced into a cookie cutter program designed by Washington-DC-
based bureaucrats! Medicare MSAs are a good first step toward allowing 
seniors the freedom to control their own health care.
  In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to provide our 
senior citizens greater control of their health care, including the 
ability to use Medicare money to purchase prescription drugs by 
cosponsoring my legislation to expand the Medicare MSA program.