Rx DRUG COSTS: GOP Leaders Reject Clinton Plan
Republican leaders this weekend said that while they would be willing to compromise with President Clinton about a prescription drug plan for seniors, they would not accept the Clinton-backed, government-run proposal that covers all beneficiaries, the AP/Philadelphia Inquirer reports. On CNN's "Late Edition," House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) said: "Listening to the American people, we want [a prescription drug plan] to be voluntary. It's very important to seniors that they feel some sense of jurisdiction over their own lives. We want those seniors who are happy with what they have ... not to be forced out of that and into some government program." He added that he would be willing to work with Senate Finance Chair William Roth (R-Del.), who recently proposed a prescription drug plan that would be run through Medicare (Mann, 7/17). Also this weekend, Clinton criticized Republicans for failing to respond to an offer he made to sign a GOP-sponsored marriage penalty tax-relief bill if they would accept his prescription drug plan. He added that "there was still time for a bipartisan deal" on prescription drugs. On "Fox News Sunday," Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) also expressed hope that Democrats and Republicans could reach a compromise, but added that such a plan would not be "one that provides prescription drug subsides of the federal taxpayers' dollars to everybody." He said, "Bill Gates? Donald Trump? We're going to subsidize their prescription drugs? Please." Lott added, "We're going to try to do the right thing. And that is get rid of the marriage penalty tax and provide prescription drugs to the elderly poor that really need us. I hope [Clinton] will join us" (Price, Washington Times, 7/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.