30, 1999 6:02 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
for Public Accuracy
Husseini, (202) 347-0020 or (202) 332-5055
David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
- June 30 - The following health-care policy specialists are available for interviews
on the new Clinton plan for Medicare:
DON McCANNE, M.D., (949) 493-3714, firstname.lastname@example.org,
A member of the National Coalition to Protect, Improve and Expand Medicare, Dr.
McCanne said today: "Including prescription coverage in Medicare is definitely
a step in the right direction, but it is still inadequate because it leaves too
much of the cost as out-of-pocket expenses which will remain unaffordable even
for moderate income Medicare recipients. The direction we should be moving towards
is fixing Medicare and expanding it to cover all of us. The American health-care
system is a disaster now, between the 43 million uninsured people and the damage
wrought by the market approach to health care. We need comprehensive reform and
a change to methods of cost containment that are patient-oriented."
GAIL SHEARER, (202) 462-6262 ext 1113, email@example.com,
Director of Health Policy Analysis for Consumers Union, Shearer said today: "The
president's proposal is a much better value than the current Medigap policies
many Medicare recipients have. Under Medigap, a typical 75-year-old pays $1,800
for prescription coverage and gets at most $1,250 of benefits per year. However,
we are concerned about the voluntary nature of the president's proposal. Ideally,
prescription drugs would be covered for all, just like doctor and hospital bills.
If only those in need elect coverage, premiums collected will not cover as large
a portion of costs as anticipated, thus spiraling premiums."
JOHN HESS, (212) 866-8699
A retired New York Times reporter, currently a radio commentator and an analyst
on the economics of aging, Hess said: "The Clinton administration's proposals
for Medicare are pure election-year posturing. There is no talk of Medicare reform
even reaching Congress this year. Moreover, the proposals fail to address the
central problem -- the nonstop rise in the price of prescription medicines. Someone
has to have the courage to lower the boom on the pharmaceutical industry and start
controlling the price of these medications. The first thing that will happen if
the government pays for prescriptions is that employers who now cover all or most
of the cost of brand-name drugs -- which are in many instances much better than
generic counterparts -- will drop that coverage. The government in the meantime
would have a limit on how much per year they will cover and the premium would
come out of our Social Security checks on top of the increased premium that will
be charged for Medicare. Employers will be better off, the drug companies will
be better off, but people who now have better coverage from their employers and
Medigap coverage -- and those with drug bills that exceed the proposed limits
on government coverage -- would be worse off."
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