TAX CUT: Clinton to Highlight Women’s Need for Medicare
In an effort to spark opposition to the GOP tax cut and bolster support for the White House's Medicare reform plan, President Clinton, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Vice President Gore are targeting female voters with a study reporting that women rely more heavily on Medicare than men, Congress Daily/A.M. reports. The Clintons will release the findings of the report, prepared by the Older Women's League, today. The report notes that "20 million out of the 34 million Medicare beneficiaries are women" and that women spend 20% more on prescription drugs than men. Additionally, 7.3 million female Medicare beneficiaries have no prescription drug coverage, half of whom have incomes below 150% of the poverty level. In addition, Medigap insurance rates increase with age, which hits women harder because they live longer. At the same time, "seven out of 10 Medicare beneficiaries living below the poverty line are women." Compounding elderly women's woes is their increased likelihood to be ill, as 73% have at least two chronic illnesses, as compared to 65% of men. Finally, the report notes that female Medicare beneficiaries devote 22% of their incomes to health care, as compared to 17% for men (Koffler, 7/27). Clinton said, "Congress and the American public face an important decision: to invest in a stronger Medicare program for our mothers and grandmothers or give away the entire surplus on a risky and irresponsible tax scheme" (AP/Washington Post, 7/27). Later today, Gore will announce a study on rural America, which shows that "one-third of Medicare beneficiaries lacking prescription drug coverage live in rural America" (Koffler, 7/27).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.