March 29,2000

Roth Statement at Second Hearing on Prescription Drugs

WASHINGTON -- The Senate Finance Committee met today to hear testimony to consider the inclusion of a prescription drug benefit in the Medicare program. Senate Finance Committee Chairman William V. Roth, Jr. (R-DE) delivered the following opening statement:

"Welcome to the second hearing in the Finance Committee on the inclusion of prescription drugs in the Medicare program," Roth stated. "Today, we plan to first take testimony from several of our Colleagues, and a representative of the Administration. These witnesses are joined by the common thread of having authored Medicare reform or drug coverage plans that have been in the public arena for consideration for several months.

"We will then conclude with expert testimony drawn from states and the private sector on lessons in designing and administering a major drug benefit. These witnesses will build upon the testimony provided last week by the General Accounting Office. That testimony indicated in part, that Medicare could experience virtually a doubling of its administrative workload if a drug benefit is enacted, and require the agency to manage a variety of new functions."