Al Gore Says Medicare is at "Crossroads"
— -- Medicare has become a major issue in the presidential campaign as Al Gore accuses George W. Bush of trying to turn the 35-year-old health insurance program into a “welfare system.”
By Carter M. YangABCNEWS.comSept. 25— With George W. Bush regaining lost ground in the polls, Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore said today
Medicare is at a “crossroads” and insisted his opponent would transform the government health insurance program into a welfare system for many of its 39 million beneficiaries.
The vice president hopes that argument will persuade Florida’s large population of elderly voters to help bring the Sunshine State’s 25 electoral votes into his in November.
Kicking off a three-day, three-state campaign swing, Gore told a group of seniors in St. Petersburg, Fla., today that electing his Republican rival would mean an end to Medicare as they know it.
“The other side has called Medicare a ‘government HMO,’” Gore said, referring to a GOP television ad criticizing the Democratic nominee’s plan to reform the program. “They really never have liked it … I’ll defend it. The other side won’t.”
‘At the Crossroads’
Gore began his campaign trail offensive on the Medicare issue today by releasing a 74-page book outlining his plan to “modernize” the 35-year-old program, while skewering Bush’s approach. The new document, entitled “Medicare at the Crossroads,” offers few new policy initiatives. Its purpose — like the vice president’s appearances in Florida, Michigan and Iowa this week — is to underscore the stark differences between the two candidates’ competing proposals.
Nowhere are those differences more striking than in their approaches to spiraling prescription drug costs.