THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK
Wednesday, June 14,
CHALLENGING REPUBLICANS TO PROVIDE ALL
A REAL MEDICARE BENEFIT OPTION
"A private insurance model simply cannot guarantee affordable
coverage for all. To make the promise of affordable coverage real for all older
Americans, there must be a true Medicare drug option...Anything less would be
an empty promise."
President Bill Clinton
Wednesday, June 14, 2000
Today, President Clinton, along with Senate Democratic Leader
Daschle, House Democratic Leader Gephardt, and representatives of older
Americans, people with disabilities, and pharmacists, challenged the
Republicans to ensure that all seniors have access to a real Medicare
prescription drug benefit. The President stated that he is open to private
insurance options, as the Republicans are proposing, but only if all seniors
have the ability to choose an affordable, defined, fee-for-service drug benefit
under Medicare. The President will point out that a private insurance model
that does not provide such a Medicare option for all beneficiaries is nothing
more than an empty promise.
Voicing Concern About The Republican Plan. Today,
representatives of millions of older Americans and people with disabilities
joined President Clinton and the Democratic leadership in voicing their concern
over the Republican plan to provide a prescription drug benefit to Medicare
beneficiaries. According to the sketchy details available, the Republican plan
would provide the benefit through a flawed Medigap-like model that could not
assure its availability or affordability to Medicare beneficiaries. The
Republican plan appears to:
- Fail to assure the availability or stability of drug coverage
options by building on the flawed private Medigap insurance market rather than
adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare;
- Provide a private insurance benefit not a Medicare
benefit. Beneficiaries would pay expensive premiums to private Medigap plans
rather than to Medicare for an affordable option;
- Fail to assure the affordability of coverage options;
- Fail to guarantee a meaningful, defined benefit; and
- Limit choice of drugs and pharmacies.
Calling on Congress to Offer a Real Medicare Drug Benefit.
The President stated that he welcomes efforts to provide affordable coverage to
all older Americans, but emphasized that a private insurance drug benefit
cannot work to achieve this outcome. He indicated that he is open to private
insurance options, but only if all seniors have the ability to choose an
affordable, defined, fee-for-service drug benefit under Medicare.
Rejecting the Republican Legislative Process. Advocates for
seniors and people with disabilities joined the President in rejecting the
partisan legislative process chosen by the House, which fails to provide older
Americans and people with disabilities the time necessary to adequately
evaluate the implications of the legislation. The President called on Congress
to work together in a fair, bipartisan fashion to pass a prescription drug
benefit that is meaningful and affordable to all beneficiaries.
President's Plan Extends Prescription Drugs to All Medicare
Beneficiaries. The President's plan to offer a Medicare prescription drug
- Accessible to all beneficiaries;
- Designed to give beneficiaries meaningful protection and
- Affordable to all beneficiaries and the program; and
- Part of a larger plan to strengthen and modernize Medicare.