Addressing The Challenges Facing Rural Seniors Who Need Prescription Drugs


Tuesday, June 13, 2000


"Today's report on the special needs of rural seniors makes it clear that we need a benefit that's available for all older Americans."

President Bill Clinton
Tuesday, June 13, 2000

Today, at the White House, President Clinton released a new report on the special challenges faced by the over 9 million Medicare beneficiaries in rural communities who need life-saving prescription drugs. The report shows that rural beneficiaries tend to have a greater need for prescription drug coverage but have fewer coverage options. Their incomes are lower, access to pharmacies is more limited, out-of-pocket spending is higher, and the available private prescription drug coverage options are severely limited and extremely expensive. The President expressed concern about the Republican proposal that builds on the flawed Medigap plan, and urged Congress to work with him to design a meaningful Medicare prescription drug benefit that provides an affordable, dependable, coverage option available to all beneficiaries.

Highlighting the Greater Need For Prescription Drug Coverage By Rural Beneficiaries. Rural Medicare beneficiaries, who represent nearly one-fourth of the Medicare population, have lower incomes, more limited access to pharmacies, and higher out-of-pocket expenditures than their urban counterparts. Key findings of today's report by the Domestic Policy Council and the National Economic Council include:

Urging Congress to Pass a Meaningful Medicare Drug Benefit. The President raised concerns about the Republican proposal to use a flawed Medigap-like model that would not work for all Medicare beneficiaries. Instead, he called on Congress to work with him on a plan that is designed to cover people – not provide political cover – and provides meaningful drug coverage for Medicare beneficiaries. The President's plan is:

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