Empty Promises Aren’t the Medicare Prescription America’s Seniors Need

For eight years seniors have waited for leadership from the Clinton-Gore administration to solve America’s Medicare and prescription drug crisis. The White House has done nothing. Worse, this administration walked away from, and the House Democrats walked out on, bipartisan efforts to strengthen Medicare and provide prescription drug coverage options for seniors, much like the benefits enjoyed by members of Congress and all federal employees.

Now, Vice President Gore is playing politics and pushing a dangerous Medicare plan that promises more than it provides. The Gore plan actually will:

· Force most seniors to pay more for less coverage;

· Impose price controls that will limit access to medicines and handicap innovation;

· Leave a broken, wasteful, and bureaucratic system in place, rather than strengthen Medicare; and,

· Trap Seniors into to Gore’s one-size-fits-all prescription drug plan for life or nothing else.

CSE asks: Why shouldn’t seniors have the same choices as Vice President Gore and Members of Congress?

Seniors Pay More for Less Coverage Under Gore Plan

Current Gore Plan

Monthly Premiums

Deducted from Social Security checks

$0 $288 per year

($24 per month)

Out-of-Pocket Drug Expenses $673 per year

(average senior’s expense) $337 per year

(50% co-payment)

Total Costs $673 per year $625 per year

Total Benefit $48 per year

$.13 per day

The Gore plan will cost seniors and taxpayers $250 billion for a benefit of 13¢ a day!

Instead of offering real reform, the Clinton-Gore administration has played politics with Medicare, first creating a bipartisan commission, then rejecting their own commission’s solution. The commission’s solution was based on the plan covering federal employees—including Vice President Gore and members of Congress—and it included a prescription drug coverage. While CSE thinks the commission’s report is a good starting point for reform, the Gore plan abandons the report’s principles.

On the other hand, Governor George W. Bush’s proposal is founded on the bipartisan commission’s recommendations. He recognizes the failure of Medicare to meet the health care and prescription drug coverage needs of America’s seniors, and works to address those failures responsibly, not just rhetorically.

The Bush plan brings more choice and competition in health care and prescription drug coverage to America’s seniors. Unlike the Gore plan, the Bush plan:

· Targets benefits to address the greatest need;

· Does not allow the government to control the price of prescription drugs; and,

· Does not trap seniors into a one-time, ‘til death-do-us-part, prescription drug coverage plan.

Vice President Gore may think he has a good issue, but he sure doesn’t have a good plan.

Vice President Gore’s empty promises are not the prescription our seniors need. We need real Medicare reform, with more choices and competition.

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