NCPA Prescription Drug Expert in Washington: Free-market Analyst Urges Politicians Not to Create A New Entitlement


WASHINGTON, D.C. - As the President and members of Congress consider expanding Medicare to include coverage of prescription drugs, Dr. Merrill Matthews, health care policy expert and vice president of domestic policy for the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis, will visit Washington to discuss the crippling effect adding a new entitlement may have on the stability of the already over-burdened Medicare system. Matthews advocates encouraging prescription drug competition in the private sector health markets for senior citizens, including Medi-Gap and employer-sponsored supplemental insurance, to make private-sector options more affordable.

WHO: Merrill Matthews, Ph.D

WHAT: Prescription Drug Free-Market Solution

WHEN: June 29 - 30 INTERVIEWS BY REQUEST

WHERE: National Center for Policy Analysis, 655 15th Street, NW, Suite 375, Washington, DC

According to Matthews, in 1995:

95% of Medicare HMOs provided enrollees with a prescription drug benefit 84% of seniors with employer-sponsored supplemental insurance had drug benefits 88% of low-income seniors who received Medicaid coverage in addition to Medicare had prescription drug coverage

Since the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) cut back on Medicare reimbursement rates in 1998, HMOs with prescription coverage which offered plans to Seniors began cutting benefits and dropping out of the Medicare program. "It's competition," Matthews says, "not a federal mandate that will lead to more prescription drug coverage."