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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release June 3, 1998

             AARP Members Present Gore With Membership Card

Washington, DC -- Vice President Gore today renewed his commitment to protecting America's senior citizens and announced efforts to protect seniors in the 21st Century.

"As a proud new member of AARP, I am here today to tell my fellow seniors that I am committed to protecting America's seniors and helping you seize the new opportunities of a new century," Vice President Gore said in a speech at the AARP's Biennial Convention. "If we are to rise to the changes and challenges, the 21st Century can be the healthiest and most hopeful time America's seniors have ever known."

In his remarks, the Vice President announced four commitments to help seniors seize the opportunities of a new century, including: (1) cracking down on fraud in the Medicare system; (2) fighting to reserve any budget surplus to save Social Security first; (3) renewing calls for investments in biomedical research; and, (4) calling on Congress to enact a Patients' Bill of Rights.

The Vice President announced a new initiative deputizing seniors to fight fraud and abuse in the Medicare system. By January 1999, the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) will publish proposed regulations to implement the Incentive Program for Fraud and Abuse Information. This program offers monetary awards to Medicare beneficiaries who report information on persons or entities engaging in fraud and abuse against Medicare. HCFA will notify rewardees of their eligibility to receive a rewards after Medicare funds have been recovered. The person has one year from the date of notification to claim the reward.

The Vice President Urged Congress to Reserve the Budget Surplus to Save Social Security First. The Vice President called for a bipartisan pledge to reserve every penny of the budget surplus to save Social Security first. He chided those who "would trade away seniors long-term security for a fistful of short-term silver: hands off our surplus until we save Social Security first." In addition, he announced he will join AARP's Social Security forum in Providence, Rhode Island on July 1st.

The Vice President Encouraged Congress to Increase the Funding for Biomedical Research. The Vice President called for an unprecedented increase of 65 percent in cancer research through the National Institute of Health. In addition, he encouraged Congress to pass a proposal to allow Medicare cover certain cancer clinical trials which was announced on January 1st of this year.

The Vice President Called on Congress To Enact a Patients' Bill of Rights. The Vice President renewed the call for Congress to enact a Patients' Bill of Rights. The Patients' Bill of Rights would give patients: access to specialists, access to emergency services, a choice of providers, and the right to appeal the decisions of a health plan.

"When it comes to health care, Americans need the best care, not the cheapest care," the Vice President added. "That is why I'm calling for a Patients' Bill of Rights to insure that crucial medical decisions are being made by doctors, not accountants."