Thursday, March 9, 2000


"Today, we are moving forward together by uniting around common principles, setting standards that any prescription drug plan should meet. That is a significant step, moving us further toward the day when every older American has the choice of affordable prescription drugs."

President Bill Clinton
Thursday, March 9, 2000

Today, at the White House, President Clinton received and endorsed a set of "Prescription Drug Principles" from Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, which will be used by the Senate Democratic Caucus to evaluate any Medicare prescription drug benefit proposal developed in Congress. The Prescription Drug Principles affirm that drug benefits targeted only to low-income Americans through block grants, or primarily to high-income beneficiaries through tax incentives, would be unacceptable. The principles state that any drug benefit should be voluntary, accessible, affordable, competitively administered, provide meaningful protection, and be consistent with broader Medicare reform. Senator Daschle stated that the President's proposal meets these principals, and that he will work to ensure that any plan emerging from Congress will be guided by them.

PRESCRIPTION DRUG COVERAGE IS NEEDED. The following facts support the urgent need for a Medicare prescription drug benefit:

SENATE DEMOCRATS AGREE ON PRINCIPLES FOR PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT. The Prescription Drug Principles released today by Senator Daschle and the Senate Democratic Caucus state that any new benefit should be:

URGING CONGRESS TO ACT NOW. The President urged Congress to act this year to strengthen and improve Medicare. His FY 2001 budget includes a comprehensive plan that makes Medicare more competitive and efficient and dedicates part of the surplus to improving Medicare solvency and adding a prescription drug benefit which meets all of the Prescription Drug Principles announced today. The President's plan also creates a Medicare reserve fund to add protections for catastrophic drug costs.

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