Senior citizens and others on Medicare are facing a significant premium increase this January, a record 17%.

That means the monthly premium will go from $66.60 to $78.20.

West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller told a rally he is hoping the state's seniors won't forget about the recently-announced hike in their monthly premium.

The administration says the increase reflects the costs of an enhanced Medicare program, which Rockefeller says he doubts.

Speaking about health-care, Rockefeller and presidential candidate John Kerry told state residents last week they believe "Health-care is a right, not a privilege."

The West Virginia Democrat says increasing premiums is a terrible thing to do, calling the proposal outrageous.

Democrats and other critics have derided recent changes in Medicare as a giveaway to insurers, drug makers and medical providers.

Rockefeller co-chairs Kerry's presidential campaign in West Virginia.

The Bush administration announced the increase the day after the Republican National Convention.