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Arkansas Congressman Calls for Changes in Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit

A Democratic Party congressman is calling for changes in the U.S. Medicare prescription drug benefit, describing the Bush administration's current program as costly and confusing.

Arkansas Representative Marion Berry, in the Democrats' weekly radio address, said his office has taken thousands of calls from senior citizens who are confused about the new plan. He said it is not fair that seniors, who are already uncertain or confused about the program, will be charged a prescription drug tax if they fail to enroll by May 15.

Berry called for a six-month extension to the deadline. And he said Medicare could negotiate lower drug prices to save seniors money.

President Bush has said his plan gives seniors more choices and can save them money. He has acknowledged problems with the plan since its January debut, but he says the government is working to smooth out the problems to ensure that seniors are never without their needed medication.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.