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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 28, 2002

President Urges Progress on Medicare
Remarks by the President with House and Senate Members on Medicare
The Roosevelt Room

      View the President's Remarks
      Listen to the President's Remarks
      Fact Sheet: Strengthening Medicare

3:27 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  I want to thank the members from both the House and the Senate, both of the political parties, for coming to discuss an incredibly important issue, and that is Medicare.  We had good discussions last year, and now it's time to get something done.

We need a comprehensive reform plan that includes prescription drugs for every senior.  And the will of the folks around this table is to work together to do just that, is to make sure our seniors have got the capacity to have a -- to purchase prescription drugs.  That's what we all want.

And I believe that given the right focus and the right efforts, we can achieve that objective.  And while we're doing so, we want Medicare to be modernized.  We want it to be a system that is relevant for -- for seniors today and for tomorrow.  And it's not.  It's a system -- it's old and it's tired, and it needs to be -- it needs to be looked at in a way that recognizes we've made a commitment to our country's seniors.  But we want the commitment to work.

And so, the members around this table have all come back to town and said, let's get something done.  And I'm so thrilled to have them here, and I appreciate the spirit.  And it's going to require that kind of spirit to get it done.

I'm looking forward to my speech tomorrow night.  I will mention Medicare in my speech.  We need to make it work, we need for there to be a prescription drug plan in the program.

Thank you all for coming.

Q    Do you think it will be likely in an election year, sir?  Is it likely in an election year, sir?

THE PRESIDENT:  You know, that's why you run for office.  Election year or no election year, it's time to get something done.  And this is not an issue for the faint-hearted, but it's the right thing to do.  And members around here understand it.

END          3:30 P.M. EST

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