CONGRESS: Hope Remains for Stalled Health Care Bills
Although partisan sniping and political jockeying have stalled congressional efforts to pass a patients' bill of rights and a Medicare prescription drug benefit, "there is still a chance for breakthroughs on all the major legislation, especially if voters crank up the heat during the August recess," the Washington Post reports. Health care was "near the top of big issues" in Congress this year, but little progress has been made, as some "Republicans may be content just to have voted on bills," while many Democrats are "reluctant to make concession when their uncompromised positions appear popular at the polls." House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) is trying to negotiate a deal between two groups of House Republicans studying the managed care issue, while senators approved a separate plan opposed by the White House. As for a prescription drug benefit, the House approved a GOP plan, but the Senate is "grinding its gears" on the issue. Neither party likes the other's proposal, although both agree that a plan from Senate Finance ChairThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.