Gore's Medicaid Icon Chooses to Live Without Taxpayer Help

By Ben Anderson | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - Vice President Al Gore showcased a senior citizen on Tuesday who lives frugally without Medicaid, but while painting the 88-year woman as needing taxpayers to foot her prescription bills, Gore reportedly stopped short of acknowledging that she preferred to live without it.

Gore's presidential campaign staff invited Raymond, NH, widow Florence Seitz to attend a healthcare forum in Nashua where he lead her to describe how she sometimes doesn't take all of her prescription drugs because she can't afford them.

Seitz said $269 of her $658 monthly income goes to pay for medication.

But Gore did not mention why Seitz lives so sparingly without the help of taxpayer funded Medicaid - she chooses to.

Contacted Tuesday night by the Concord Monitor, Seitz, a former quadruple bypass patient, said she didn't apply for Medicaid because it wasn't her nature.

"I've always tried to get along on what my monthly income is. I came from a very large family and grew up on a farm; my father always taught us that if we can't live on our means, we shouldn't use the system to get along," Seitz said.

"(Medicaid) is sort of like welfare," Seitz is quoted saying to the Monitor.

Gore used the occasion to blast Democratic rival Bill Bradley's plan to use vouchers to pay for private insurance plans.

Vouchers, according to Bradley, would alleviate situations like Seitz by presumably removing the element of dishonor that some feel when using taxpayer funded programs.

Gore spokesman Doug Hattaway told the Monitor that it is still important to maintain Medicaid.

Seitz and Gore first crossed paths in June at an elderly housing facility in Manchester. Seitz is a member of the Rockingham County Committee on Aging.

Gore has since used Seitz as an example in various other campaign appearances.

"He's gone all around the country saying my name," Seitz is quoted saying. "I like Al Gore's plan."