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NATIONAL COUNCIL OF SENIOR CITIZENS BLASTS REPUBLICAN PLAN TO CUT MEDICARE

 WASHINGTON, July 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Council of Senior Citizens (NCSC), an advocacy organization representing more than 5 million older men and women, today called on members of the Congress to support and improve the president's economic plan and to reject Republican alternatives as "an attack of the worst sort upon the elderly." According to the group's executive director, Lawrence T. Smedley: "In order to eliminate all tax hikes on the wealthiest 1 percent of taxpayers, the Republicans would cut Medicare drastically - - as much as $100 billion, far deeper than either the House or Senate versions of the bill."
 Smedley noted that, while the Clinton plan asks doctors, hospitals and other providers "to contribute their fair share" to deficit reduction, "the House Republican alternative would cut benefits for middle-class beneficiaries." And, he said, the Dole proposal relies on an entitlement cap that "could only work if it imposed dramatic new Medicare cuts" on nearly all of the 34 million older and disabled Americans who qualify for Medicare. In contrast, the president's overall plan is balanced and fair -- it asks the most of those who can most afford it. The Social Security proposal would ask only the better off of Social Security recipients to contribute their share.
 "The National Council of Senior Citizens applauds President Clinton for his determination to protect older Americans from Republican attempts to impose harsh Medicare cuts on the middle class, simply to reduce taxes on the well-off," Smedley said. "It's beginning to look like GOP stands for `Gouge Old People.'"
 Smedley urged the conference committee to take the following actions to improve the reconciliation package: accept the Senate plan for the taxation of Social Security benefits which has a higher threshold and places the new revenue in the Medicare Trust Fund; eliminate the "entitlement review" offered by the House; and limit cuts to Medicare providers to the more modest figure included in the House bill.
 The senior leader said that "it is already clear that the conference committee will be reporting out a Reconciliation bill vastly superior to Republican alternatives." In conclusion, Smedley took strong exception to some other senior groups who bash the president's plan while being mute about the Republican alternatives. "In many cases," he said, "these groups care more about their own fundraising than the problems of the elderly."
 The National Council of Senior Citizens, founded in 1961 in the fight for Medicare, is an organization of more than 5,000 affiliated local clubs, Area Councils, and State Councils, with a total membership of over 5 million senior activists. Together, NCSC members work for state and federal legislation to benefit the elderly and their families, and advocate on behalf of senior citizens in communities across the United States.
 -0- 7/22/93
 /CONTACT: Kurt Vorndran, 202-624-9534, or Bette Cooper, 202-624-9537, both of the National Council of Senior Citizens/


CO: National Council of Senior Citizens ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA SU: LEG

KD-IH -- DC034 -- 4821 07/22/93 17:29 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 22, 1993
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