Medicare Prescription Issue Gets Lots of Airtime During Debate

Oct. 4, 2000 (Washington) — The national highlight continues to pillar down on the require for a medicate benefit for seniors, as the Medicare medicine coverage issue was all over Tuesday’s opening presidential wrangle about.

Measured by sound bytes, drug coverage was certainly the lead wellbeing issue between the two candidates. It netted more broadcast appointment amid the 90-minute debate than the controversy over the fetus removal medicate RU-486, which the FDA endorsed last week; and the « patients’ charge of rights, » which Democrat Al Gut said fair once in passing.

Gut and GOP candidate George W. Bush not only competed repeatedly over their respective Medicare medicate proposition, but emphasized the issue’s importance in their closing statements. Both candidates agreed that they wanted to create drug coverage available for America’s seniors. A third of Medicare beneficiaries – 12 million individuals – have no sedate coverage at all.

« There’s fair a colossal require among a politically and demographically significant group of voters, » says Lee Goldberg, an official with the National Committee to Protect Social Security and Medicare.

But with two-thirds of recipients having at least a few coverage, how has the medicine issue made it to the very beat of the domestic-policy plan, at slightest in the decision fight?

Marty Corry, chief of federal issues for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), tells WebMD that he can’t recall any presidential wrangle about in which Medicare and Social Security proposition played such a noticeable part. He notes that indeed with the nation’s vibrant economy, « there’s still a address almost long run. Individuals are thinking around what their economic security is reaching to be. »

Sedate costs are rising quickly, even as blockbuster — and costly — unused therapies continue to hit the showcase. At the same time, HMOs are pulling out of the Medicare program in phenomenal numbers. That will take off almost a million seniors without an HMO next January, leaving numerous without drug scope.

« Prescription drug coverage is greatly vital to individuals over 50 — it directly touches them, » Robert Blendon, teacher of wellbeing policy at the Harvard School of Open Health, tells WebMD. For these older voters, he says, a candidate’s accentuation on drugs may be a. kind of « litmus test » of his general concern for the Medicare and Social Security programs.

Additionally, Blendon says, sedate coverage may be a significant deciding factor for voters in « swing » states, including Florida, Unused Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. These states have sizable more seasoned populations, and these individuals are more likely to turn out to vote. Agreeing to Blendon, more youthful voters have less of an intrigued in the coverage issue.

But Goldberg tells WebMD that the issue reverberates with more youthful voters as well. He mentions those voters with parents who may be financially dependent on them, particularly the « sandwich generation » who are raising children and have subordinate guardians.

In spite of all the time given to the issue, last night’s debate did small to supply viewers with a clear sense of what the candidates’ respective medicate plans are all approximately. « When they got into the fine print, I couldn’t tell who was right, » Brookings Institution political researcher Stephen Hess, PhD, tells WebMD. From tuning in to the debate, Goldberg says, « you would think they have the same plans. »

During the debate, Gore attacked Bush’s proposition for at first clearing out out most seniors, while Bush charged that Gore was using « Mediscare » strategies and playing legislative issues with the issue. But most of the candidates’ charges and countercharges came over to viewers as « word serving of mixed greens, » Blendon says.

Corry of the AARP notes that the candidates’ medicate plans, especially Bush’s, are not fully fleshed out besides. « There isn’t a entire lot to be said in terms of the subtle elements of the proposition, » he says.

Some time recently the talks about, the candidates did lay out the frameworks of their sedate plans, which uncover a wide philosophical difference. Bush’s would assign establishing medicate coverage programs for seniors to the states, and scope would be run by private safeguards who may offer distinctive benefits and cost-sharing rules. By differentiate, the Gore arrange would be established as a modern broadly managed Medicare advantage, with set benefits and cost-sharing sums. Gore’s plan is almost $100 billion more expensive than the Bush proposal over the next 10 years.

« What’s imperative is that both candidates need a medicate benefit in Medicare, » Corry tells WebMD. « For there to be understanding on that is gigantic progress. »

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