print-only banner
The White House Skip Main Navigation
In Focus
News by Date
Federal Facts
West Wing

 Home > News & Policies > July 2001


President Bush believes the Nation has a moral obligation to fulfill Medicare’s promise of health care security for America’s seniors and people with disabilities. Medicare has provided this security to millions of Americans since 1965. However, as Medicare’s lack of prescription drug coverage demonstrates, Medicare is not keeping up with the rapid advances in medical care. Medical care this century holds the promise of improving and extending life through countless innovations. To ensure that Medicare provides a secure entitlement for access to modern health care, for seniors today and tomorrow, the President is proposing a framework for improving and modernizing Medicare.

Medicare needs better benefits, including a prescription drug benefit, like modern health insurance plans. Medicare’s outdated, "one-size-fits-all" benefit package does not cover prescription drugs and does not provide timely, consistent coverage for many modern technologies and preventive treatmentscare. It does not protect beneficiaries against the high costs of treating serious illnesses, and i. It imposes unnecessary regulatory burdens on providers and patients. As a result, seniors often do not receive appropriate, up-to-date treatment for their health problems. Most other insurance programs, including the program available to all Federal employees, provide reliable options for getting modern health insurance benefits. However, Medicare’s does not, however, and its options are actually becoming more limited.

The President believes that we must give seniors better options. He also believes that any improvements in Medicare should not force changes on today’s seniors who are satisfied with their current coverage. In addition, The President also believes that any changes in Medicare must truly be improvements in Medicare’s existing benefits.

Medicare is not financially secure for the retirement of the Baby Boom. The 77 million Americans who will be in Medicare by 2030 are counting on Medicare’s promised benefits. Yet Medicare’s fund for hospital insurance will face cash flow deficits beginning in 2016, and Medicare’s fund for its other benefits will likely require a doubling of beneficiary premiums and of Medicare’s claims on general revenues to remain solvent over the next 10 years. Medicare’s bifurcated accounting disguises the true fiscal health of Medicare and makes it difficult to plan ahead.

President Bush has worked with many members of Congress from both parties to develop a framework for improving aMedicare and making it secure. modernized Medicare program and for keeping Medicare’s benefits secure. Modernized Medicare includes an improved traditional fee-for-service plan, and improved health insurance plan options. The President’s framework for bipartisan legislation includes the following principles:

  • All seniors should have the option of a subsidized prescription drug benefit as part of modernized Medicare modernized Medicare.
  • Modernized Medicare should provide better benefits coverage for preventive care and serious illnesses.
  • Today’s beneficiaries and those approaching retirement should have the option of keeping the traditional plan with no changes.
  • Medicare should provide better health insurance options, like those available to all Federal employees.
  • Medicare legislation should strengthen the program’s long-term financial security.
  • The management of the government Medicare plan should be strengthened so that it can provide better care for seniors.
  • Medicare’s regulations and administrative procedures should be updated and streamlined, while the instances of fraud and abuse should be reduced.
  • Medicare should encourage high-quality health care for all seniors.

Table of Contents