CCH Provides Resources For Journalists Covering Medicare Reform Progress
President Hints at Medicare Reform: Will 2003 be
(RIVERWOODS, ILL., January 30, 2003) – In both his State of the
Union Address on January 28 and again in a speech Wednesday in Grand
Rapids, Mich., President George W. Bush said that reforms to the
Medicare system should provide people with greater choice in how they
obtain and pay for their medical care similar to the choices provided
federal employees under the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (FEHBP).
However, details on how to achieve this apparently have yet to be
worked out, according to CCH INCORPORATED (CCH), a leading provider of
healthcare law information and software.
Using FEHB as a Model to Reform Medicare
President Bush said that Medicare beneficiaries should have the
same choice in deciding how their medical care is paid as do members
of Congress and other federal government employees. Federal employees
are allowed to choose between several different health plans, which
provide them with coverage for medical services very much in the same
way that the majority of employees choose coverage from their
employer, according to CCH.
The president called for reforms to the Medicare system that will
provide coverage for more preventive services than are currently
provided to Medicare beneficiaries. Bush did say that any reforms
should not harm current beneficiaries, and current beneficiaries
should be able to receive benefits from the Medicare program in the
same manner that they are now provided.
Prescription Drug Coverage
Bush also has said he plans to submit a budget to Congress that
includes $400 billion over a 10-year period to provide a prescription
drug benefit for Medicare beneficiaries.
While the specifics of the proposal were not provided in his
speech, the amount the president is proposing to spend is $90 billion
more than the Medicare Modernization and Prescription Drug Act of
2002, which was adopted by the House of Representatives last year, but
subsequently stalled in the Senate.
Chances for Adoption
"Medicare reform has been a hot topic for years, and there
even has been some action—for example, the House of Representative’s
passage last year of a prescription drug bill. But even that stalled
when it reached the Senate," said Jay Nawrocki, a healthcare
analyst for CCH. "The big question is whether the president can
pull together a proposal that has a chance of seeing its way through
the entire legislative system, emerging in actual laws that overhaul
the Medicare system. There’s quite a way to go between where we are
today and getting a bill through Congress and onto the president’s
Analysis of the Medicare and prescription
drug plans as they progress, as well as details on the Medicare program,
its history, coverage and examples on how it works will be available
to the media at www.cch.com/medicarereform.
CCH healthcare analysts also are available to provide individual analysis
About CCH INCORPORATED
For more than 50 years, CCH INCORPORATED has regularly tracked,
reported, explained and analyzed health and entitlement law for
healthcare providers, insurers, attorneys and consumers. CCH is the
premier provider of Medicare and Medicaid information. CCH is a wholly
owned subsidiary of Wolters Kluwer North America. The CCH Health group
site can be accessed at health.cch.com.
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