Transcript: Democratic Radio Response

This is State Senator Ron Klein from Florida.

Seniors in Florida and all over the country have spent the last several months puzzling over the new prescription drug law.

The new law, written by President Bush, Congressional Republicans, and the Big Drug Companies.

With the sign up deadline looming on Monday, millions of American seniors will be forced to pay a penalty for not signing up for the program.

The Republican Congress' prescription drug program is wrong for Florida and wrong for our nation's seniors. I am running for Congress because Floridians deserve a new direction from my opponent's leadership on this and other legislation that has put special interests first and left Florida families behind.

While any prescription drug help to older Americans is a good thing for many, millions are confused and are having a tough time navigating the options and confusing details buried in the fine print of this program.

Many seniors don't know that if they spend between $2,250 and $5,100 a year on drugs, they'll get NO help at all with their monthly premiums.

In my home state of Florida, as many as 160,000 seniors may lose coverage under this program, and over 315,000 seniors could end up paying even more.

The hidden fees are not the only dirty little secret the architects of the Medicare law don't want you to know about. The new prescription drug law is little more than a legislative pay off to the pharmaceutical industry and HMOs. In addition to the program begin confusing and expensive, it includes the risk of losing coverage and even forbids Medicare from negotiating with the drug companies to get the lowest possible prices for seniors.

Just last year you'll remember that President Bush announced his plan to privatize Social Security.

His ill-conceived plan for private accounts will cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. Just to remind you, this is all from the same failed economic leadership that has increased our nation's debt to more than eight trillion dollars.

The President's risky plan to privatize Social Security includes benefit cuts for the middle class. It even limits benefits for the children who lose their parents and eliminates benefits to surviving spouses who could suddenly find themselves living alone.

In other words, their Social Security plan is just like their prescription drug and Medicare plan - written to benefit the big special interests groups, inadequate, and confusing.

We badly need a new direction in this country. We can start by electing a Congress that is willing to stand up to the powerful special interests. We deserve a Congress willing to fight for America's middle class and do the right thing - actually help people.

As a State Senator, I have worked hard to get affordable prescription drugs and a health care plan that makes sense to seniors - because you shouldn't need a PhD to figure out the new prescription drug law.

As a candidate for Congress, I pledge to fight the special interests and stand up for senior citizens. When I get to Washington, I will work to fix the prescription drug law so that is easy to understand, accessible to everyone, and that provides real savings for you and your family.

I will take a common sense approach to the decisions that come across my desk and I will stand up for Florida seniors.

This is State Senator Ron Klein of Florida. Thanks for listening.