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Office of press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 10, 2000
                              May 10, 2000 

Today, President Clinton will join Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, House Democratic Leader Gephardt, and many other Democratic members of Congress to unveil their voluntary Medicare prescription drug benefit plans. These detailed proposals are consistent with the President's Medicare reform initiative and his principles for a prescription drug benefit option that is affordable and available to all beneficiaries. The President will praise the Democratic leaders and the members of their caucuses and will point out that a strong unified Democratic position will help lay the foundation for eventual bipartisan consensus, as was the case with the Norwood-Dingell Patients' Bill of Rights compromise. He will also highlight a new report today that underscores the importance of a Medicare prescription drug benefit for older women. The report, to be released today by the Older Women's League, states that women on Medicare spend 13 percent more out-of-pocket than men for prescription drugs, but have incomes that are on average 40 percent lower.

UNIFIED DEMOCRATIC SUPPORT FOR A NEW, PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT OPTION THAT IS AFFORDABLE AND AVAILABLE TO ALL BENEFICIARIES. Today, Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle and House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt, together with numerous Democratic members of the House and Senate, will announce the details of their plans to provide for a voluntary Medicare prescription drug benefit. The plans would be:

NEW STATISTICS UNDERSCORE THE IMPORTANCE OF A MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT FOR OLDER WOMEN. Today, the President will highlight a new report being released by the Older Women's League entitled "Prescription for Change" that underscores the importance of a Medicare prescription drug benefit for women. Key findings from the report include:

A UNIFIED DEMOCRATIC FRONT PROVIDES THE FOUNDATION FOR BIPARTISAN CONSENSUS. President Clinton today will point out that a strong, unified Democratic position enhances the likelihood of passing a Medicare drug benefit, just as it helped to assure the eventual House passage of a strong, enforceable, and bipartisan Patients Bill of Rights. He will hail the announcement of Democratic consensus on the details of a drug benefit and urge Congress to move forward on this vital issue.