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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 22, 1999
                          FOR THE 21st CENTURY

Releases New Report That Documents That Three Out of Four Medicare Beneficiaries Lack Decent, Dependable, Private-Sector Coverage

of Prescription Drugs

July 22, 1999

Today, the President met with community representatives in Lansing, Michigan to discuss the future of the Medicare program. At this meeting, he released a new report entitled, "Disturbing Truths and Dangerous Trends: The Facts About Medicare Beneficiaries and Prescription Drug Coverage," which describes the inadequate and unstable nature of the prescription drug coverage currently available to Medicare beneficiaries. The President also underscored the importance of seizing this historic opportunity to strengthen and modernize the Medicare program by making it more competitive and efficient; modernizing and reforming its benefits, including the provision of a long-overdue prescription drug benefit; and making an unprecedented long-term financing commitment to Medicare that would secure Medicare's financing for the next quarter century. Today, the President:

UNVEILED NEW REPORT DOCUMENTING THE DANGEROUS TRENDS IN PRESCRIPTION DRUG COVERAGE FOR MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES. Prescription drugs have never been more important, but the people who rely on them most -- the elderly and people with disabilities -- increasingly find themselves uninsured or with coverage that is becoming more expensive and less meaningful. Today's report documents that the cost of purchasing essential prescription drugs is not only a problem for the millions of Medicare beneficiaries without any insurance, but is also an increasing challenge for beneficiaries who have coverage. Key findings of the report include: