Sunday, November 16, 2003

Medicare prescription drug benefit deal approved in principle by conferees.

The deal was struck between "top Republicans in Congress and two Democratic senators" and was announced on Saturday. See article in today's New York Times.) I guess it remains to be seen whether other top Democrats can be persuaded to go along. This has become one of the all-time "Christmas tree" bills, with a little light or gew-gaw for everyone:
Besides adding drug benefits to Medicare, the bill would inject competition and market forces into Medicare and establish a new mechanism to help hold down Medicare costs. It would also offer tens of billions of dollars in subsidies and other aid to employers to encourage them to continue providing health benefits, including drug coverage, to retirees.
So scuttling this bill would require members to explain to the folks back home not just why the drug benefit got killed (and apparently "because we can't afford it" just isn't a good answer these days), but also why this or that favorite provision also had to be killed. Will this make the bill bulletproof? We'll see . . . .
posted by tommayo, 12:49 PM

Health care law (including public health law, medical ethics, and life sciences), with digressions into constitutional law, poetry, and other things that matter