July 31, 2000
"As difficult as it is for seniors to get affordable and dependable prescription drugs, it's an even greater challenge for Americans with disabilities."
President Bill Clinton
July 31, 2000
Today, at a senior center in Tampa, Florida, President Clinton released a new report on the necessity of prescription drug coverage for Medicare beneficiaries with disabilities. The report finds that these beneficiaries are in poorer health, require more prescriptions, and pay 50% more for them if they lack prescription drug coverage. The President pointed out that most of Florida's Medicare beneficiaries without drug coverage must turn to the expensive private Medigap options or the unreliable Medicare managed-care market. He highlighted the shortcomings of the House Republican drug plan, citing Florida as an example of why a private insurance model, like the one proposed by House Republicans, will not work.
CITING FLORIDA AS AN EXAMPLE OF THE NEED FOR PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT. The President highlighted the barriers that 2.7 million Floridian Medicare beneficiaries face in obtaining affordable prescription drugs:
- The private Medigap insurance market provides an expensive and extremely limited benefit with no protections against catastrophic expenses; and
- Medicare managed-care plans are unreliable and recently announced they are dropping 87,000 Floridians from their plans.
The President underscored that these choices cannot be relied on as workable options to provide critical prescription drug benefit for seniors and people with disabilities.
RELEASING A STUDY ON THE IMPORTANCE OF MEDICARE TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES. Over 5 million Medicare beneficiaries are people with disabilities under age 65. The White House report released today confirms the need for voluntary Medicare prescription drug coverage that offers an affordable and meaningful Medicare benefit – not a private insurance model – for people with disabilities. Key findings of the report include:
- Medicare beneficiaries with disabilities have poor health and significant health care needs;
- Medicare beneficiaries with disabilities are much less likely to have, be able to access, or be able to afford private insurance coverage;
- To ensure access for people with disabilities, a prescription drug benefit must:
- Ensure a Medicare option rather than rely on private insurers;
- Have an affordable premium and a meaningful benefit;
- Provide access to the prescriptions beneficiaries need from the pharmacies they trust; and
- Be adequately financed and part of an overall plan to strengthen and modernize Medicare.
HIGHLIGHTING FLAWS IN THE HOUSE REPUBLICAN PLAN. The President emphasized the shortcomings of the House Republican prescription drug proposal, which:
- Does not provide a Medicare benefit;
- Is seriously underfunded and provides for an inadequate and more expensive benefit;
- Would leave millions of Medicare beneficiaries without prescription drug coverage; and
- Limits choice of drugs and pharmacies.