Kennedy To Outline New Health Care Reform Agenda in Speech Today
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) today plans to "put universal health care back at the top of the national agenda" during a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., in which he will outline a series of health reform proposals, the Boston Herald reports (Woodlief, Boston Herald, 6/18). "In my view, we must act on three major fronts: To reduce the shameful plight of the uninsured, to bring health costs down and to enact a long overdue prescription drug benefit in Medicare," Kennedy will say, according to an advance copy of his speech (Fulton, CongressDaily/AM, 6/18). Kennedy and his allies will seek to enact a patients' bill of rights, obtain mental health parity in health plans, require all employers with more than 100 workers to provide health coverage and distribute grants to promote the preventive treatment of diabetes (Boston Herald, 6/18). Kennedy also plans to advocate expanding CHIP programs and coverage for disabled children, increasing Medicare provider payment rates, reforming drug patent laws, reducing medical errors and enacting more tobacco control legislation. Finally, Kennedy is expected to criticize the proposed House Republican Medicare prescription drug plan as offering "only meager and inadequate benefits" (CongressDaily/AM, 6/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.