MEDICARE REFORM: Hearings Set For July
Sen. John Breaux (D-LA), chair of the bipartisan Medicare reform commission, said the 17-member panel "will hold hearings on July 10 and 13 and seek public comment in other ways," today's New York Times reports. In addition, the Times reports that commission members have "agreed that they must ... assess the overall fairness of the Medicare program and the adequacy of its benefits." Future Medicare costs were the big issue at a two-day meeting the commission completed yesterday in Washington, DC. Commissioners "got a vivid reminder of the politics of Medicare" when "dozens of members of the Gray Panthers ... held up signs that said, 'No more Medicare cuts!'" At least one commission member, Brandeis University professor Stuart Altman, raised the prospect of benefit cuts at the two-day meeting. He predicted "a resumption of health cost increases in this country." And "[i]f that coincides with the 'tidal wave' of baby boomers reaching retirement age," Altman said, "there will be immense pressure to restrict spending or to ration health care" (Pear, 6/3).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.