Working to Protect Senior Citizens
January, 2000

Saving Social Security. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have coupled fiscal discipline with a commitment to preserve and protect Social Security. Under the Clinton-Gore Administration, the life of the Social Security trust fund has been extended to 2034. President Clinton has proposed extending the program's solvency to 2050 by paying down the national debt and dedicating the interest savings to Social Security. This would be a down payment on truly saving Social Security. President Clinton has also called for a bipartisan effort to save Social Security for 75 years and eliminate the confusing and out-dated earnings test to encourage work and earnings among older Americans.

Increasing Pension Security. President Clinton proposed and signed the Retirement Protection Act of 1994, protecting the benefits of more than 40 million American workers and retirees. The President also signed the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, which provided a tax credit to small business that adopt pension plans, created a simplified and better defined contribution plan for small businesses, and promoted portability.

Signed the Landmark Work Incentives Improvement Act. The Work Incentives Improvement Act prevents people with disabilities from losing their Medicare or Medicaid health coverage when they go to work. It also includes a $250 million demonstration, which the President insisted on fully funding, that allows people with disabilities who are still working and are not yet sufficiently disabled to qualify for Medicaid to buy into the program.

Cost of Living Increase for Social Security Beneficiaries. Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will increase 2.4 percent in the year 2000. The average monthly benefits for retired workers will rise from $785 to $804, while the maximum monthly SSI payment will rise to $512 for an individual and $769 for a couple.

Protected and Strengthened Medicare. When the Clinton-Gore Administration took office, Medicare was expected to run out of money in 1999. The President fought against the unwise and excessive plan proposed by the Republicans in 1995 and for sound legislation in 1993 and 1997, strong management improvements, and a major reduction in fraud. As a result, the life of the Medicare Trust Fund has been extended until 2015.

Fighting Medicare Fraud and Waste. The Clinton-Gore Administration has assigned more federal prosecutors and FBI agents to fight health care fraud than ever before -- increasing convictions by more than 410% and saving more than $50 billion in health care claims. The President has proposed a $48 million initiative to fight waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare program. This initiative includes new teams of "fraud-fighters" to swiftly respond to suspected fraud.

Added New Preventive Services to Medicare. The bipartisan Balanced Budget Act created new Medicare preventive benefits including coverage of annual mammograms, coverage of screening tests for both colorectal and cervical cancer, and a diabetes self-management benefit.

Strengthening and Modernizing Medicare. The President has proposed a comprehensive plan to reform and modernize Medicare by making the program more efficient and competitive, extending the solvency of the Health Insurance trust fund, and modernizing benefits -- including adding a long overdue, voluntary prescription drug benefit.
Implementing Comprehensive Nursing Home Quality Initiative. The Clinton-Gore Administration issued the toughest nursing home regulations in the history of the Medicare and Medicaid programs, including increased monitoring of nursing homes to ensure that they are in compliance; requiring states to crack down on nursing homes that repeatedly violate health and safety requirements; and changing the inspection process to increase the focus on preventing bedsores, malnutrition and resident abuse. President Clinton won $43.5 million increase in FY00 to fund more rigorous inspections of nursing facilities and improved federal oversight and enforcement of nursing home quality.

Protecting Seniors in Managed Care Plans. President Clinton signed an executive order extending the strong enforceable protections in the Patients’ Bill of Rights to Medicare recipients in HMOs. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have called on Congress to pass the Patients’ Bill of Rights Act, to guarantee these protections for all Americans.

Taking Care of Our Veterans. The Clinton-Gore Administration’s 1999 budget gave the Department of Veterans Affairs the largest increase in six years. The Administration has also expanded the VA health care system to include more than 600 ambulatory and community based clinics, providing better access to quality health for more of our veterans. The VA now treats over 18 percent more patients than it did four years ago.

Passed Meaningful Health Insurance Reform. President Clinton signed the Kennedy-Kassebaum Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which helps individuals keep health insurance when they change jobs, guarantees renewability of coverage, and ensures access to health insurance for small businesses. As many as 25 million people will benefit from this law. The President and Vice President have also proposed a new 10 year, $110 billion initiative that would expand coverage to at least 5 million uninsured Americans and expand access to millions more.

Putting 100,000 More Police on the Streets. In 1999, ahead of schedule and under budget, the Clinton-Gore Administration met its commitment to fund an additional 100,000 police officers for our communities. As a part of the COPS Program, the President announced new grants to increase community policing in high-crime and underserved neighborhoods. To help keep crime at record lows, the President won funding in the FY 2000 budget for the first installment toward his goal to hire up to 50,000 more officers by 2005.

Fighting Telemarketing Fraud. President Clinton’s Justice Department has lead efforts to crack down on telemarketing fraud -- charging nearly 2,000 individuals with dishonest practices. As part of their efforts, the FBI trained and supervised senior citizens, recruited through the AARP, to help catch dishonest telemarketers. The President also launched "Project No Fraud," a collaborative nationwide public education campaign to education consumers on how to recognize and prevent telemarketing fraud.

Targeting Criminals Who Target Seniors. Last year President Clinton proposed the 21st Century Crime Bill, which would protect seniors from crime, fraud and abuse by: (1) shutting down the telephone service of illegal telemarketing schemes; (2) enacting new criminal and civil penalties for nursing home operators who engage in serious neglect or abuse of seniors in their care; (3) implementing new prosecutorial tools to stop false health care claims and illegal kickback schemes; and (4) increasing penalties on individuals who rip off retirement plans and try to cheat seniors of their pensions.

Supporting the Older Americans Act. President Clinton has repeatedly called on Congress to reauthorize the Older Americans Act of 1965, which provides Meals on Wheels, transportation, senior community employment and ombudsman services. The Older Americans Act’s authorization expired in September 1995.

Providing Opportunities to Serve. President Clinton launched AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National Service, which includes Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions, and the Retired Volunteer Program. Through this National Senior Service Corps, nearly half a million Americans age 55 and older share their time and talents to help their communities.


Back to the Accomplishments Page       Back to State of the Union Home Page

[White House icon] [Help Desk icon]

To comment on this service,
send feedback to the Web Development Team.