President Clinton Cites Florida as Case Example for Need for Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit


Releases New Report on the Need For Drug Benefit for Medicare Beneficiaries With Disabilities

July 31, 2000


Full Report as PDF File


Today, in an event at the David Barksdale Senior Center in Tampa, Florida, President Clinton will critique the shortcomings of the House Republican prescription drug proposal and release a new Domestic Policy Council / National Economic Council report highlighting the necessity of prescription drug coverage for Medicare beneficiaries with disabilities. The President will cite Florida as a case example of why a private insurance model, such as the one proposed by the House Republicans, will not work. He will point out that most Medicare beneficiaries in Florida who need affordable prescription drug coverage must turn to the expensive and limited-value private Medigap options or the unreliable Medicare managed care market. The new White House report documents how Medicare beneficiaries with disabilities are in poorer health and require more prescriptions. The President will highlight the finding that Medicare beneficiaries with disabilities who lack prescription drug coverage pay fully 50 percent more out of pocket for 50 percent fewer prescription drugs than those with coverage. This report strongly validates the need for a voluntary Medicare prescription drug benefit that rejects the private insurance model and instead offers an affordable and meaningful Medicare benefit for all eligible people with disabilities as well as all seniors.

PRESIDENT CITES FLORIDA AS CASE EXAMPLE OF NEED FOR MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT. The President will point to the barriers 2.7 million Floridian Medicare beneficiaries face in accessing affordable prescription drugs. He will cite the private Medigap insurance market in Florida and throughout the nation, which provides for an expensive but extremely limited benefit with no protections against catastrophic expenses. The President will also highlight the serious shortcomings of Medicare managed care plans, which all too frequently move in and out of participation in the program and recently announced decisions that would effectively drop 87,000 Floridians. He will underscore that while the Medicare managed care program needs to be strengthened through the provision of direct subsidies for prescription drug coverage, neither it – nor a Medigap drug-only plan – can be relied on as workable options to provide a much-needed prescription drug benefit for seniors and people with disabilities.

PRESIDENT CLINTON RELEASES A NEW STUDY ON THE IMPORTANCE OF MEDICARE TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES. About one in eight Medicare beneficiaries – over 5 million (284,000 in Florida) – are people with disabilities under age 65. Over the next 10 years and the number of beneficiaries with disabilities is projected to increase by 38 percent (from 5.5 to 7.6 million). Key findings of the report include:

Medicare Beneficiaries with Disabilities Have Poor Health and Significant Health Care Needs. Most disabled beneficiaries -- 60 percent of disabled beneficiaries – report fair to poor health, compared to 22 percent of aged beneficiaries. Nearly 30 percent have functional limitations due to health problems, compared to 18 percent of elderly beneficiaries.

People with Disabilities Face Unique Coverage Challenges. Medicare beneficiaries with disabilities are much less likely to have, be able to access, or be able to afford private insurance coverage. The report indicates:

Beneficiaries With Disabilities Need a Voluntary Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit. The report concludes that to ensure access for people with disabilities, a prescription drug benefit must:


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