[MOL] Clinton unveils prescription for modernizing Medicare [01642] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] Clinton unveils prescription for modernizing Medicare

Clinton unveils prescription for modernizing Medicare
    [06/29/99; Cable News Network]

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 29) -- President Bill Clinton unveiled
Tuesday his proposal for "sensible and fiscally responsible"
overhaul of the ailing Medicare program, the centerpiece of which
is a new universal prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients.

The president said his Medicare rescue plan will be paid for with
$794 billion over the next 15 years, all of it coming from expected
federal budget surpluses. 

"There are a thousand ways to use the surplus, all of them arguably
attractive, but none more important than first guaranteeing our
existing obligation to secure quality health care for our seniors.
First things first," Clinton said. 

The president's announcement sets up what is expected to be a
bitter fight with the GOP-led Congress. Many Republicans say
that much money is not needed to save Medicare, especially for
new benefits, and the extra surplus funds should instead be used
for a deeper tax cut. 

Clinton's universal drug benefit will be relatively modest and
will begin small. The new benefit will cover half the cost of
drugs, up to $2,000 a year, for a monthly premium of $24. During
the first six years of the program, which begins in 2002, the
coverage will rise to $5,000 a year and the monthly premium to

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