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January 28, 2002

Governor Ryan Commends President Bush for Approving Innovative Illinois Program to Expand Prescription Drugs for Senior Citizens
Governor to hold Tuesday News Conference to Unveil New Initiative

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today commended President Bush and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson for approving Illinois' innovative program to expand prescription drug assistance for all prescription drugs to low-income senior citizens:

“I want to commend President Bush and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson for working with us to provide relief to our senior citizens. This program which we developed is the first of its kind across the nation and we hope other states will adopt it. It will give our seniors the assistance they need to pay for all prescription drugs.

We proposed this innovative concept to build upon our highly successful Circuit Breaker program that provides financial assistance to low-income Illinois seniors and disabled citizens. The expanded program will be primarily funded by federal dollars to match the money we devote to Circuit Breaker. It will provide coverage to 368,000 Illinois seniors.

I proposed this initiative to Secretary Thompson last Spring and we have worked closely with the administration since then. The lack of access to prescription drugs for the elderly is one of the most significant issues confronting our nation today. President Bush is showing great leadership in approving this effort and I am anxious to hear the president's other plans to provide security for America's seniors in his State of the Union Address tomorrow night."

Gov. Ryan and key cabinet members will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. tomorrow in the Capitol Press Conference Room to further discuss the expanded senior drug program.


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