AL GORE: Give ’em Prescription Drug Coverage, Veep Says
Stumping yesterday in Independence, Mo., the home of Harry "Give 'em Hell" Truman, Vice President Al Gore vowed to bolster Medicare and provide a prescription drug benefit for seniors, the Dallas Morning News reports (Hillman, 8/15). If elected president, Gore promised to place budget surplus funds in a Medicare "lock box" and "give money directly to seniors" for prescription drugs. According to Gore, the health of seniors should not rely on "young bureaucrats sitting behind computers" at HMOs. He added, "They don't have the right to play God" in choosing doctors and treatments (Sisk, New York Daily News, 8/15). Gore also criticized rival Texas Gov. George W. Bush (R) for the "smooth evasion" of his pledge to protect Medicare and Social Security. "The American people deserve to know the specifics of how the American people would be affected if the other side won," Gore said, accusing Bush of trying "to create a false impression of caring about people" (AP/Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/15). "The Republicans give generalities and they do not give specifics," he added. Gore promised to contrast himself with Bush during his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention Thursday (New York Daily News, 8/15).
Another Gore Reinvention?
Bush spokesperson Dan Bartlett said, however, that Gore had more than seven years to work on Medicare and Social Security reform and called the vice president's latest speech part of the "difficult task of reinventing his record of failing to" address the issues (AP/Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/15). Bartlett also highlighted the past support of Gore's running mate, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), for raising the eligibility age for Medicare, renaming the Democratic convention the "Reinvention Convention." Bartlett said, "It appears the Gore-Lieberman approach to Medicare reform is, 'The Buck Reinvents Itself Here,'" (Dallas Morning News, 8/15).