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July 28, 1998

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For 60 years, Social Security has meant more than an ID number on a tax form, more than even a monthly check in the mail. It reflects our deepest values, the duties we owe to our parents, to each other, to our children and grandchildren, to those who misfortune strikes, to our ideals as one America.

President Bill Clinton
July 28, 1998

Today, President Clinton addresses the National Council of Senior Citizens dinner in Washington, D.C. The President will renew his call to Congress that every penny of any budget surplus be used to save Social Security.

Saving Social Security First. President Clinton firmly believes that every penny of any budget surplus be put aside to save Social Security first. Under the President's leadership, our nation has turned persistent budget deficits into surpluses, but just as the budget has been balanced, some want to squander this fiscal legacy by passing tax cuts paid for by these surpluses. Fiscal responsibility gave us this strong economy, and the President is calling on leaders of both parties to join the bipartisan call to save Social Security first.

The President Is Working To Protect Social Security. The President believes that any changes or reforms to the Social Security system should be measured against the following five objectives:

  • Strengthening and Protecting Social Security For The 21st Century. Any Social Security reform proposal must be comprehensive and address the solvency problem the system will face in the 21st Century.
  • Maintaining Universality and Fairness. For half a century, Social Security has been a progressive guarantee for all citizens. Reform should maintain this promise.
  • Providing A Benefit People Can Count On. Regardless of economic ups and downs, Social Security must provide a solid and dependable foundation of retirement security.
  • Preserving Financial Security For Low-Income And Disabled Beneficiaries. Reform must ensure that those who rely most on Social Security and Supplemental Security Income are not forgotten.
  • Sustaining Fiscal Discipline. Projected budget surpluses should be reserved until we have strengthened Social Security for the 21st Century.

President Clinton Has Stood With Seniors On Medicare reform. President Clinton has fought for important reforms in Medicare, including:

  • Payment and structural reforms that extend the life of the Medicare Trust Fund for a decade;
  • New structural reforms to modernize the Medicare Program;
  • New preventative benefits, including annual screening mammograms for beneficiaries over age 40;
  • A Medicare Commission to address long-term financing challenges;

New Administrative Actions To Improve The Quality Of Nursing Homes. Last week, the President instructed the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) to implement new penalties, inspections, and tougher oversight of nursing home providers, including:

  • Immediate Civil Monetary Penalties Against Nursing Homes That Violate Federal Standards;
  • Tougher Nursing Home Inspections;
  • Stronger Federal Enforcement Of State Nursing Home Oversight;
  • Preventing Bed Sores, Dehydration, and Malnutrition;
  • Implementing New Efforts To Measure And Monitor Nursing Home Quality.

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