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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 11, 2006

President Discusses Medicare in Iowa
Wesley Acres
Des Moines, Iowa

      In Focus: Medicare

3:20 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT: Senator Grassley and I are thrilled to be here. One of the things that's happening is that people around the country are beginning to realize there's a new prescription drug benefit for folks on Medicare. And it's very important for people to understand that this is a very beneficial program.

And so I'm spending time today and tomorrow, as I have in previous months, reminding people that it doesn't cost anything to look -- that people ought to take a look and see what this good program does for people.

I want to thank Senator Grassley. He was very instrumental in getting this important piece of legislation through the Congress. One of the things I remember him saying to me is that as we pass a Medicare bill, let's make sure that Iowa rural hospitals are taken care of. In other words, he was deeply concerned to make sure Medicare was modernized, so seniors have choices and a prescription drug coverage, but he was also concerned to make sure that rural health was available for the citizens of Iowa and around the country. And Senator Grassley has been a strong leader in this effort.

I strongly urge the seniors here in Iowa to take a look. So far about 29 million seniors have signed up around the country. I met with some folks today that have saved good money. Today, for example, I met with Helen and Debbie. Helen saved $200 a month in her prescription drug coverage, and she convinced her friend, Debbie, to take a look at the Medicare prescription drug plan. Debbie now saves $1,200 a month -- saves $1,200 a month.

So I urge people not to listen to the noise and all the politics -- just get that out of the system -- and see whether or not the prescription drug coverage makes sense. If you're a poor senior, this program will help you a lot. As a matter of fact, the government pays nearly -- over 95 percent of the benefits for poor seniors.

Every senior is saving money, and that's what people have got to know. There is an easy way to find out how the program works, and that's to call 1-800-Medicare, or you can go on the computer systems at Here we're seeing some of our fellow citizens reaching out to seniors to explain the program. And this is happening all across the country. I want to thank those who are here for helping our fellow citizens understand what's available. I fully recognize that when you have a variety of choices from which to choose, it can be a little confusing at first. In other words, people get on the computer, and say, look at all these different options.

But the good thing about the programs, and the people who are willing to help, is that they can design a program that meets your needs. And that's really important. Now if you're a son or a daughter whose mom or dad is Medicare eligible, please help your parent, please do your duty. If you're in a church or a community center, find an elderly citizen who has yet to sign up for Medicare and show him or her what is possible. This is a good program for our seniors, it is a good deal. And it's very important for seniors to sign up prior to May 15th.

And so I'm thrilled to be back in your state, Senator. Iowa has got a special spot in my heart. I bring greetings from the First Lady Bush. And I also, again, encourage the citizens here in Iowa and around the country who are eligible for Medicare, to make sure you look at the program. And again, I remind you of the examples of Helen and Debbie. Debbie's case is an extraordinary case, where she is receiving a lot of help. And that's what we want this program to do, is to provide people with a lot of help.

So thank you very much. The Senator and I look forward to greeting you personally. Appreciate you letting us come by to say, "hello." (Applause.)

END 3:24 P.M. CDT

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