Implementation of the unnecessarily complex Medicare prescription drug program has been fraught with problems. As a result, nine million of the 17.7 million people who either lacked or had limited prescription drug coverage before Part D continue to lack coverage.

Yet the Bush Administration has to date refused to take a simple action that is guaranteed to increase enrollment. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, delaying the May 15th enrollment deadline and waiving the corresponding late enrollment penalty would enable an additional one million people to sign up this year – and lower premiums for millions of Medicare beneficiaries for the rest of their lives.

My legislation to extend the deadline, The Medicare Informed Choice Act, H.R. 3861, has the bipartisan support of more than 160 Members of Congress. According to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, seniors and people with disabilities overwhelmingly support an extension of the deadline.

I sincerely hope that on or before Monday, May 15th, the Bush Administration hears and acts upon the pleas of America’s seniors.