Hey Seniors -- Food or Medicine?
That’s the choice the Bush admin is giving seniors. From Salon
(As reported in the New York Times) some seniors who take advantage of the prescription drug plan will see some of their savings offset by a cut in the food stamps they receive. The thinking: If seniors are spending less on drugs, then they surely they have more to spend on food. As the Times reported, the Bush administration says a hypothetical Mrs. Smith might see her drug costs drop from $147 to $105 a month. But in recognition of this windfall, the government would take away $17 of her $27 a month in food stamps.
The logic isn't crazy, just cold-hearted. And we're guessing it's not what Congress had in mind when it approved the plan in the first place. In fact, we don't have to guess. The Medicare Modernization Act specifically provides that discounts and subsidies seniors receive through the prescription drug program “shall not be treated as benefits or otherwise taken into account in determining an individual’s eligibility for, or the amount of benefits under, any other federal program.”