Frist Tops List of Wealthiest on Capitol Hill
Aired June 13, 2003 - 13:06 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HEIDI COLLINS, ANCHOR: To another congressional issue now that's seen years of political gridlock. And that is Medicare.
A Senate committee yesterday approved legislation that would provide prescription drug coverage for millions of Medicare recipients. House republicans also unveiled their Medicare bill.
Let's take a look now at the differences and the similarities of these two bills.
The average monthly premium of $35 is the same under each bill. But there is a $25 difference in the deductibles.
Under the Senate bill, Medicare would pay 50 percent of drug costs, from $276 to $4,500 a year. Seniors would pay the other half.
Under the House Bill, Medicare would pay 80 percent of the costs, from $251 to $2,000. And seniors would pay 20 percent.
The Senate bill heads to the floor on Monday for debate.
And now, to the finances of the nation's senators. The Senate is out with its financial disclosure reports and the Senate is full of millionaires. CNN's Kathleen Koch joins us live from Capitol Hill with full disclosure on all of this.
Hello to you, Kathleen.
KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Heidi, you did hit the nail on the head with that one. They do often jokingly refer to the Senate as the millionaire's club. And in perusing these personal financial disclosure statements today, you can see it is quite an apt description.
First of all, let's take a look at the leadership. Senate majority leader Bill Frist, Republican heart surgeon from Tennessee, is one of the wealthiest in the Senate. His family funded the Hospital Corporation of America; it's one of the largest for-profit hospital chains. He's valued at some $15 to 42 million dollars.
Now his Democratic counterpart, Senate minority leader Tom Daschle, is of more modest means, valued at some $416,000 to $1.2 million.
How about Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has been in the news quite a bit lately with her brand new book, "Living History, out? She got an $8 million advance for that. She is valued at some $352,000 to $3.8 million. That's her net worth, a little lower than one might expect because she shad hefty legal bills to pay off.
Now as far as the top three in the Senate, they remain John Kerry of Massachusetts with a net worth of some $163 to 221 million.
Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, whose family runs the Kohl's department stores. He's also owner of the NBA Milwaukee Bucks, not far behind with a net worth of at least $111 million.
And then rounding out the top three is Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat of West Virginia, worth $81 million.
Now, it's important to remember that these are just very conservative estimates and the senators are actually worth a good bit more than this. Because in the financial disclosure statements, they are only required to estimate the value of their assets, say, from $1- 5 million dollars or $10-20 million. So generally, Heidi, they're worth even more than what we're reporting today.
COLLINS: All right, Kathleen Koch, thanks so much, live from Washington this morning. Thanks so much. We appreciate it.
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