Rx Drug Plan, Patients’ Rights Not Forgotten, But Time is Running Out
Despite the increased government focus on national security and bioterrorism after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush says he remains "committed" to Medicare reform and patients' rights, the AP/Nando Times reports. Addressing the American Society of Anesthesiologists via videotape on Oct. 14, Bush "renewed his call" for a "'real' bill protecting patients' rights and for changes to the Medicare system." Bush said he wants legislation that will improve "the quality of health care without unnecessarily raising health care costs," as well as changes to make Medicare "less bureaucratic and more efficient" (Lindlaw, AP/Nando Times, 10/15). Despite Bush's pledge, the St. Petersburg Times reports that the "faint glimmer of hope" that Congress would "succeed in providing some [prescription drug] relief" for Medicare beneficiaries has disappeared in light of the Sept. 11 attacks. According to the Times, "reviving" Bush's attempt at a prescription drug card plan for Medicare recipients looks "bleak," and backing for legislation that would allow seniors to reimport American-made drugs from Canada "is said to be on the wane." Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), sponsor of the reimportation bill (S 215), thinks her proposal still has a chance to be approved by the Senate. However, the Times reports that "with so little time left" in the congressional session and "so many terrorism-related issues" left to address, the "window of opportunity" for a prescription drug benefit has "closed" (Fritz, St. Petersburg Times, 10/15).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.