MEDICARE Rx: Clinton, Daschle Offer Reform ‘Principles’
President Clinton and Senate Minority Leader Thomas Daschle (D- S.D.) will announce a set of "principles" dealing with Medicare prescription drug benefits, in an attempt to "unite Senate Democrats for a key battle this session." Supported by the Senate Democratic Caucus, they say any move to offer drug coverage to Medicare recipients must follow these guidelines. Broadly worded to "accommodate the diverse range of views within the Caucus," the principles say any drug benefit "must be available to all Medicare recipients" and "not means-tested or income-related to save money." They also say it "must be affordable to all seniors ... [and] part of an overall Medicare reform strategy." Further, the principles call for "private sector delivery of the drug benefit." What is likely to not be addressed, CongressDaily/A.M. reports, is the specific role HCFA will play in regulating prescription drugs. The drug industry has voiced its opposition to HCFA's role in the White House drug proposal (Koffler, 3/9).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.