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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 9, 2006
President Bush and Health and Human Services Secretary Leavitt Make Remarks to the Travel Pool
Broward Community College
Coconut Creek, Florida
8:53 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: I want to thank you all for joining us. I'm proud to be here with Secretary Leavitt. We're traveling the country reminding people that there's a fantastic opportunity for our seniors, and that is Medicare now offers a prescription drug benefit that will save people a lot of money.
We just visited with some of our citizens inside there, and they're talking about significant savings. And that's what we want -- we want our seniors to be able to have modern medicine. So far a lot of seniors have signed up. It's coming down the stretch toward the May 15th deadline; we want everybody to sign up. We want people to understand that they're going to save a lot of money when it comes to prescription drugs.
And I appreciate Secretary Leavitt's hard work. One of the things that our seniors have got to understand, that if you qualify for extra help in the program, if you're a low-income senior that qualifies for extra help, the May 15th deadline doesn't apply to you, you'll have time to take a look -- we want everybody signing up. And if you're a low income senior, you get -- the government pays about 95 percent or more of your prescription drug benefit. So it's worthwhile for people to look.
I want to thank groups like the AARP, NAACP, many in the faith community, community-based groups, all for working hard to educate seniors as to what's available. This is a good deal for America's seniors, and I'm proud to have signed a law to modernize Medicare, and I'm proud to be working with Michael.
I also want to thank Congressman Foley and Congressman Clay Shaw for joining us. They're strong backers of Medicare reform. They were informing me that a lot of their citizens have signed up. In South Florida, people are taking advantage of this program. And I strongly urge people to take a look and see what's available.
SECRETARY LEAVITT: There are three groups that we're reaching out for specifically. First of all, those seniors who don't take prescription drugs, who think they don't need to sign up for a plan -- they do. And May 15th is the deadline. They need to preserve their options for the future.
The second group would be those who aren't in a low-income situation and think this is only for low income. This is for everyone. The average savings are about $1,100 per person -- everyone benefits.
The third group would be the family members of seniors. If your mother or your father qualifies, ask them: Have you taken care of your prescription drug decision. If they haven't, help them. If you have an aunt or an uncle or a neighbor, or someone you care for, this is a very important message to them.
Last Sunday was "Sign Up Sunday," we went to churches all over America saying this is a great way to love your neighbor, or to honor your father and your mother. Help them sign up for the prescription drug plan.
We've made it very easy for them, just three steps: you have to get their drugs together, and their Medicare card. If you've got your drug bottles and your Medicare card, you've got all the information you need, then you just dial 1-800-MEDICARE, within a half an hour we can sign them up. They have until May 15th, and it would be just a shame to have them miss out on this opportunity. So we're asking for them to focus between now and then. We think we'll have another million Americans sign up between now and May 15th.
Mr. President, thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all for joining us. Thank you all very much, I appreciate it.
END 8:57 A.M. EDT