Lawmakers Propose Bill to Expand Medicare Services
Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and James Jeffords (I-Vt.) and Reps. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) and Sander Levin (D-Mich.) introduced a bill (S 982) Tuesday that would give Medicare beneficiaries coverage for a "wider array" of preventive care services, CongressDaily/AM reports. Under the legislation, Medicare would cover screening for high blood pressure, vision and hearing loss, osteoporosis and cholesterol, as well as smoking cessation counseling, counseling on treatment options for postmenopausal women and nutrition therapy for beneficiaries with heart disease, to the list of services covered under Medicare. In addition, the bill -- based on recommendations by the
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the Institute of Medicine -- would require the IOM to study Medicare's package of preventive services every three years and recommend changes, "if warranted by scientific evidence."
Also yesterday, a group of more than 100 House members, led by Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), introduced legislation (HR 2063) that would "make it easier" for low-income individuals infected with HIV to receive Medicaid coverage. Under current law, only people with AIDS qualify for benefits. "Forcing people to wait for AIDS compromises health care until their immune system is indefensible," Gephardt and Pelosi said in a joint statement, adding, "This law must be changed" (CongressDaily/AM, 6/6).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.