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President Pushes Medicare

President Clinton stepped up his pitch for his Medicare proposal during his weekly radio address Saturday, while attacking GOP tax cut plans.

Mr. Clinton insisted it would be wrong to first use budget surpluses for tax cuts before strengthening the health care system.

"For 34 years now, Medicare has been the cornerstone of our efforts to protect the health of the disabled and our seniors," the president said. "My plan will modernize Medicare by matching its benefits to the latest advances of modern medicine."

Mr. Clinton claimed the nation has a duty to ensure that all America's seniors enjoy their golden years as healthy as modern medicine will allow. He said his proposal would do just that, since it would include coverage for prescription drugs as well as improve benefits for preventive care.

"Since Medicare's founding in 1965, a medical revolution has transformed health care in America. That's why I made helping seniors afford the prescription drugs essential to modern medical care a key part of the Medicare plan," the president said.

Despite his disagreements with GOP tax plans, Mr. Clinton still wants to get some Medicare package approved in Congress.

"I've invited leaders of both parties to meet with me at the White House Monday to discuss the urgency of acting on Medicare now," the president said. "We have an unprecedented opportunity to prepare Medicare and Social Security for the retirement of the baby boomers, and to pay down our debt - to make America debt-free over the next 15 years."

Mr. Clinton said, "We can't let this opportunity slip away. Together, we can find a way to make this summer a true season of progress for all Americans."