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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 5, 1999


President Clinton Meets With Senate Finance Committee Chairman Roth And

Ranking Member Moynihan To Discuss Medicare Reform

Senate Finance Committee Chairman William V. Roth Jr. (R-DE), and ranking Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) met this morning with President Clinton to discuss the outlook for Medicare reform legislation.

The President, as well as Chairman Roth and Senator Moynihan, reiterated their intention to strengthen and modernize the Medicare program. The Senators conveyed their mutual desire to work towards the goal of passing broad-based Medicare reform in this Congress.

Chairman Roth and Senator Moynihan urged that administrative and legislative action be taken this fall to moderate the impact of Medicare provider payment reductions included in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA). The President indicated his openness to such initiatives, but in the context of providing additional statutory authority to modernize the purchasing practices of the Medicare fee-for-service program. The President pointed out that initiatives to modernize the traditional Medicare program were included in both the Breaux-Thomas recommendations and the Administration's broader Medicare reform proposal released earlier this year.

The President indicated that Administration representatives will work with the Finance Committee, as well as the House Ways and Means and House Commerce Committees, on a package of provisions that moderate the impact of the BBA and modernize the fee-for-service program. The President also agreed to provide an expeditious response regarding the administrative actions the Department of Health and Human Services can take independent of the legislative process so that the Committees can construct their legislative packages to reflect these changes. The President reaffirmed his commitment that any provider payment reforms should not harm the success we have had in extending the life of the Medicare trust fund.