Oct. 6, 2003
flaws in House and Senate-passed bills
(Washington, D.C.) – Members of Congress continue to work behind closed doors to resolve the major differences in approaches between the Senate and House- passed Medicare reform bills. Those on the Medicare conference committee have set a goal of completing their work by October 17. Because both the House and the Senate-passed bills have skimpy benefits, there is little hope that Medicare beneficiaries will experience the financial relief that they need from burdensome prescription drug bills.
Some of the key issues that remain on the table include:
- Will the conferees reject the House bill’s provisions that would privatize Medicare, threatening the affordability of traditional fee-for-service Medicare that allows freedom of choice of doctor?
- Will the conferees adopt the Senate bill’s Medicare fallback provision that would assure beneficiaries access to some coverage?
- Will the conferees reject the costly and misguided health savings account provision that would undermine employer-based health coverage?
- Will the conferees assure that those eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid will have access to the new prescription drug benefit?
- Will the conferees take aggressive steps to assure beneficiaries have access to fairly priced drugs?
- Will the conferees undermine the universality of the Medicare program by limiting the coverage for those with high incomes?
The resolution of these issues is critical to whether the ultimate Medicare prescription drug bill does more harm or good to the healthcare system and for Medicare beneficiaries.
To learn more or to take action on the Medicare issue, go to:
For more information contact: Gail Shearer, (202) 462-6262