June 29, 1999 (202) 467-5300


(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), America's largest taxpayer advocacy group, announced its opposition to President Clinton's plan to add a government-controlled prescription drug subsidy to the Medicare program.  The proposal, which will be officially unveiled on Tuesday, would grant seniors a 50 percent subsidy on prescription drugs.

"President Clinton is proposing a huge new bureaucracy for what is really a relatively small problem," said CCAGW President Thomas Schatz.  Schatz noted that about two-thirds of Medicare recipients already have prescription drug coverage through private insurance or Medicaid.  "We need to help the one-third of seniors who don't have prescription drug coverage, but there is no need for a new universal entitlement program." 

The total cost to taxpayers could be anywhere from $15 billion to $45 billion annually, depending on the details of the Clinton plan.  The administration claims it can provide this amazing service with a premium of less than $60 per month.  The White House intends to make up for the added expenditures by taking a $700 billion chunk from the budget surplus.

"There's no reason to bring more red tape into a system that already works for most Americans," Schatz said.  "The President's plan to take Americans off their private plans could also reduce funds available in the private sector for the research and development of lifesaving drugs.  Let's help the few people who can't afford coverage, and let the vast majority of Americans continue to enjoy their private prescription coverage." 

CCAGW supports a bipartisan plan advocated by Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) and Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Calif.), which would provide seniors with the same coverage offered to federal employees.  The Breaux-Thomas plan allows each individual to choose among competing private plans.

“Our entire national health policy, including our policy on prescription drugs, needs a serious overhaul," Schatz continued.  "Healthcare should be based on competition, not government subsidies.  That is the only way to make Medicare fiscally sound on a permanent basis."

CCAGW is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, a 600,000-member nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.



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