Proclamation: Health in Aging Month, 2000
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                           September 5, 2000

                        HEALTH IN AGING MONTH, 2000

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                              A PROCLAMATION

     At the beginning of the 20th century, there were only 3 million older
Americans; today, at the dawn of the 21st century, there are 34 million
older citizens in our Nation, and we anticipate that, by the year 2050, one
in four Americans will be 65 or older.-  We can be grateful that because of
extraordinary advances in medicine, technology, and science, as well as
increased public awareness of the importance of good nutrition and physical
fitness, these older citizens are now living longer, more active, more
productive lives than any previous generation.

     The dramatic increase in the life span of our citizens, however,
presents us with new challenges.  While Americans are no longer dying from
many of the diseases that affected previous generations, they must now
contend with chronic conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, heart and
lung disease, dementia, and stroke.  These conditions are major causes of
disability and death in our Nation, and their financial impact, in terms of
medication, treatment, and long-term care costs, can be crushing.  Older
Americans now pay an average of more than $1,200 a year for prescription
drugs, up from $559 in 1992, and that amount is projected to increase to
more than $2,800 over the next decade.  Millions of these older citizens
have no prescription drug coverage at all, and millions more have
expensive, inadequate coverage or are at risk of losing what coverage they

     My Administration has taken a number of important actions to meet
these new challenges.  We have proposed a new affordable Medicare
prescription drug benefit option available to all beneficiaries.  This new
benefit should ensure that every beneficiary, whether covered under
Medicare, managed
care, or a retiree health plan, will be able to access prescription drug
coverage, including protection against catastrophic drug costs.  We have
also proposed an initiative to assist millions of older Americans and their
families in meeting the financial challenges of long-term care, including a
$3,000 tax credit for people with long-term care needs or their caregivers
and improved equity in Medicaid eligibility for people living in home- and
community-based settings rather than nursing facilities.

     We are continuing our research efforts into chronic conditions that
affect older Americans, such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease,
and diabetes, and I am proud that my proposed budget for fiscal 2001
includes a historic
$1 billion increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health.  And,
most important, we remain committed to meeting the health and financial
needs of older Americans by pro-tecting and strengthening Social Security
and Medicare and modernizing, improving, and reauthorizing the Older
Americans Act.

     But there is still much to do if we are to sustain the health and
quality of life of our increasingly aging population.  We must raise
awareness of the unique needs of older Americans and ensure that caregivers
and health professionals are specially trained to treat the elderly.  We
must expand our research efforts into chronic conditions that affect older
Americans.  And we must improve health care financing, delivery, and
adminis-trative structures so that health plans and providers have the
flexibility they need to reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases, slow
the rate of disability progression, and ensure the continuity and quality
of care.

     The health of older Americans varies from individual to individual and
can depend on many factors, but we all recognize the critical importance of
quality medical care, financial security, and a caring support system to
sustaining a high
quality of life.  As our Nation's population ages, let us work together to
ensure that these essential components of good health are available to
every American.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States
of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and
laws of the United States, do hereby
proclaim September 2000 as Health in Aging Month, 2000.  I urge government
officials, health care providers, business and community leaders, and the
American people to work together to promote healthy aging and to ensure
that older citizens enjoy fulfilling, independent, and productive lives.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this          fifth
day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand, and of the
Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and

                                   WILLIAM J. CLINTON

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