Rodham Clinton Addresses Health Care Issues at AARP Meeting
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) at a meeting on Tuesday urged AARP to join her in attempts to fix the new Medicare prescription drug benefit and to persuade the House to pass a Senate-approved bill promoting health care information technology, CQ HealthBeat reports. She said her larger goal is to make the health care system more efficient with information technology, preventive care and research identifying the most effective forms of treatment, with any resulting savings funding coverage of the uninsured (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 2/14).
Rodham Clinton said the system could be less costly if government dollars were linked to results, adding that the government is not getting its money's worth for its health care spending.
Rodham Clinton also said she is working with Senate Finance Committee ranking member Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on a proposal to make improvements to the Medicare drug benefit. She said they are developing a bill that would create a regulatory structure to find and remove less-effective private drug plans.
In addition, she is working with Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on ways to expand and improve long-term care options (Fagan, Washington Times, 2/15).
Rodham Clinton said that the government should have the authority to negotiate for lower drug prices in Medicare and that pharmacists should be reimbursed for filling prescriptions for Medicare beneficiaries who were unable to prove eligibility because of computer glitches. The Feb. 15 deadline for reimbursing states offering Medicaid coverage to address coverage gaps should be extended, she said (CQ HealthBeat, 2/15).
"We are approaching a real turning point. Everyone is agreeing we need to address" health care, Rodham Clinton said, adding that solutions will require lawmakers to "check their ideological baggage at the door" to "hammer out what kind of a health care system we want, we need and can afford" (Washington Times, 2/15).