Student Scholarship Recognition Day (SSRD) was created by the late CLA Dean Larry Cress. The main goal was to provide an avenue for Willamette students to share their exemplary work with their peers, educators, friends, and family. Another goal was to include the papers and projects presented during in a digital archive of student work completed at Willamette. Visit the SSRD web site.
Browsing Student Scholarship Recognition Day by Author "Greger, Christine M."
In recent years, senior citizens have called upon government to add a benefit to Medicare
to cover prescription drugs, upon which they are increasingly reliant. Late in 2003, Congress
and President Bush approved the Medicare Prescription Drug, Modernization and Improvement
Act of 2003 (MPDMIA), adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare, the primary health care
provider for Americans over 65. Considering that there was broad public support for such
reform, MPDMIA appears to be a breakthrough. However, closer examination suggests that the
bill falls short of seniors' need. After the drug benefit is implemented in 2006, seniors' out-of pocket
drug costs will remain high and many will lose their retiree benefits because of the
legislation. Also of concern, the stability of Medicare as a whole may be threatened due to
privatization mandates in the bill.
This paper explains the puzzles behind MPDMIA's passage, first uncovering motivations
of the Republican Party and pharmaceutical industry. Next, the paper discloses information
behind Democratic support of the legislation and that of AARP, formerly known as American
Association of Retired Persons. Evidence suggests that some lawmakers' decisions were
inappropriately manipulated by the bill's proponents, and that AARP's support of the bill, which
was an influential factor for legislators, did not in fact reflect the interests of seniors. Finally, the
analysis of the creation and passage of MPDMIA exposes a breakdown in the central tenet of
representation in American democracy. More specifically, the success of this policy indicates
the failure of groups to represent their members and of elected officials to represent their
constituents and the public good.