AL GORE: Calls Citizens for Better Medicare ‘Phony’
Vice President Al Gore broadened his attack on the pharmaceutical industry while on the campaign trail yesterday, targeting Citizens for Better Medicare as a "phony coalition" and calling for the group to disclose its sponsors, the Los Angeles Times reports. The group is backed by unidentified drugmakers, who Gore said "fear they will lose money" under his prescription drug plan to expand Medicare (Garvey, 7/6). Speaking before the American Federation of Teachers, Gore said, "They ought to call it 'Citizens for Bad Medicare.'" The Gore campaign also released a letter Gore sent to Citizens for Better Medicare Director Timothy Ryan, in which Gore accused the group of "fronting for drug companies." Gore said, "The real faces behind the Citizens for Better Medicare are not those of the elderly" (Balz, Washington Post, 7/6). While Citizens for Better Medicare operates as a tax-exempt committee or one of the so-called "527s" that can raise unlimited amounts of money without revealing its donors, they soon might be forced to do so, as President Clinton recently signed campaign finance legislation that would change that rule (Los Angeles Times, 7/6). In the meantime, the group has released a new ad attacking the Clinton administration's "government-run, one-size-fits-all" drug plan, group spokesperson Dan Zielinski said (Washington Post, 7/6).
Something for the Kids
Gore also reiterated his plans to extend health coverage to all children by 2005 by expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program. His 10-year, $176 billion health care plan includes a provision to expand CHIP to include families with incomes of up to $41,000 for a family of four. States would be responsible for enrolling eligible children (Los Angeles Times, 7/6). Gore said, "Parents should never have to sit up at night worried about how they will pay the bill if one of their children gets sick" (AP/Washington Times, 7/6).