Deadline Looms for Medicare Drug Enrollment

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WASHINGTON (AP) - A pivotal Republican is joining the congressional drive to eliminate the financial penalty for people who miss tomorrow's deadline for enrolling in the Medicare drug benefit.

Connecticut Congresswoman Nancy Johnson says she has talked to
enough colleagues to believe such a proposal would pass, probably
in the fall, and plans to introduce legislation to waive the penalty.

Johnson heads the House Ways and Means' subcommittee on health.

She says that in a democracy, "Congress responds to the people and
shapes the program so it's good for them."

She joins a handful of G-O-P lawmakers who have split publicly with the Bush's administration's position that the enrollment deadline and late penalty should remain.

The administration has made an exception for people who qualify for extra help because of their low income.