Friday, March 3, 2006
Texas and other states have been forced to relinquish control over how we plan and budget taxpayer dollars to support Medicare’s federal drug benefit program for seniors, said Attorney General Abbott. The federal government has placed what amounts to a direct tax upon Texas and other states in violation of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits Washington from interfering with essential functions of state government.
The Part D drug benefit program as it is currently being implemented can seriously harm Texas taxpayers over time. Promoted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as saving the states money over the long-term, the practical application of the program is projected to result in net losses to Texas of approximately $100 million from 2006-2009.
This so-called Medicare clawback’ formula, whereby states are called on to fund a benefit offered by the federal government, will have some states like Texas wallowing in red ink for several years, Attorney General Abbott added. Washington must be fair to the states while allowing the new program to succeed to the benefit of seniors.
Texas was joined by attorneys general from Kentucky, Maine, Missouri and New Jersey. In addition, Arizona, joined by nine other states, filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the lead states. The states supporting the brief are Alaska, Connecticut, Kansas, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Vermont.