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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release March 30, 2000
                       MEDICARE TRUST FUND REPORT

Today's new report on the Medicare Trust Fund is welcome news for America. When President Clinton and I took office in 1993, Medicare was projected to go bankrupt by 1999. However, because of economic success and careful management of Medicare over the past seven years, this new report shows that Medicare is now safe until the year 2023. This success also means real benefits for America's seniors and people with disabilities. When we took office, Medicare premiums were projected to be $54.50 in the year 2000. Instead, today, they are only $45.50, saving an elderly couple more than $200 every year. I believe we can continue this sound economic management. We have proved that we do not need to make excessive cuts in benefits or dangerous reforms to save Medicare. If we avoid the twin temptations of reckless tax cuts and excessive spending increases, we can secure Medicare while preserving and improving the quality of health care it provides for millions of seniors.

Medicare continues to face critical challenges ahead. As the baby boom becomes senior boom, the size of the Medicare population is expected to double from about 40 million to 80 million. Moreover, Medicare still does not cover prescription drugs and, as a result, tens of millions of seniors have inadequate prescription drug coverage. Today's news confirms that we can strengthen Medicare and provide a long overdue comprehensive prescription drug benefit. We can improve the quality of care today and make sure Medicare can provide the same guarantee for tomorrow's seniors.