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This Week: Medicare Drug benefit
This Week
April 30, 2004

This week on NOW:

NOW's Sylvia Chase, herself a Medicare recipient, reveals the detrimental effects of election-year politics on seniors in this compelling report on the new Medicare law. With the new Medicare drug card program set to begin next week, America's senior citizens may begin to collect on the Bush Administration's promise to provide them with a universal prescription drug benefit. The sweeping new Medicare law has the capacity to transform the way Medicare is delivered to seniors, but some lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are crying foul, claiming it mainly lines the pockets of powerful drug companies while shortchanging many senior citizens. Not only that, say critics on the right and the left, the bill was passed under outrageous, even scandalous, circumstances. NOW tells the inside story behind this radical expansion of Medicare, which some say was packaged to court crucial senior votes in an election year while serving the best interests of the big drug and insurance companies. NOW investigates what the law means for seniors in the long-term and talks to Democrats and Republicans who opposed the law, including Congressman Dan Burton (R-IN), who calls the bill's passage "a major mistake."

An estimated one million people marched in what has been described as the largest demonstration for a woman's right to choose, in Washington, D.C. last week. Surprisingly, among those who participated in support were the religious faithful. These voices of faith came from leaders and members of organizations who represent millions of Americans who believe that there is a Biblical underpinning for a woman's right to choose. NOW examines the foundation of this faith-based pro-choice movement. "Why can't you be religious and prayerfully pro-choice?" asks Reverend Carlton Veazey, head of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. "And that's what we are trying to get people to understand - that there is a place for the religious voice in this movement."

Bill Moyers sits down with MORNING EDITION'S Bob Edwards for his first nationally televised interview as he leaves the anchor desk at NPR on Friday. Edwards and Moyers assess the state of the press in America, the increasing hold big business has over information, and the urgent need for a press that asks the tough questions about Democracy, our government, and our elected leaders.

In Depth

Prescription pills
An Overview of Medicare

Medicare's New Prescription Plan

Tricia Neuman Answers Medicare Questions

Cut-outs of women

State-by-State Health Resources

State Reproductive Health Legislation

Lesson Plan: Medicare Reform

Bob Edwards
Federal Legislation on Women's Health

Milestones in the History of Media and Politics

Journalist Bob Edwards on the Media


Talk about healthcare on the message boards.


Learn more about the issues discussed on NOW.

Read the complete transcript.

Streaming Video

[NOTE: RealPlayer is required to view NOW segments.]

Bill Moyers talks with Bob Edwards (16:16)

A Faithful Choice (10:45)


New Medicare. Old Story
Correspondent: Sylvia Chase
Producer: Brenda Breslauer
Editors: Vincent Liota, Win Rosenfeld

A Faithful Choice
Producer: Naomi Spinrad
Editor: Amanda Zinoman

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