Capitol Hill Briefing

What’s Right and Wrong About the Senate Medicare Bill?

June 20, 2003 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM EDT

608 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Featuring Michael O’Grady, Senior Health Economist, Joint Economic Committee; Tom Miller, Director, Health Policy Studies, Cato Institute; and John Goodman, President, National Center for Policy Analysis.

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Will a Republican Congress and President Bush approve “the biggest expansion of government health benefits since the Great Society”? Yes, says Bill Clinton’s former administrator of the Medicare program, Nancy‐​Ann DeParle. Her advice on pending legislation to provide prescription drug benefits to seniors: “Democrats should do everything they can to whisk it to his desk.” The Senate is debating the Prescription Drug and Medicare Improvement Act this week. The House will take up a similar measure next week. Our panel will examine the following issues:</p><p>Should taxpayers spend $400 billion (or more) over the next eight years — and far more in the decade after that — to finance expanded drug benefits for Medicare recipients? Will this year’s version of Medicare reform deliver more market‐​based health care to seniors? Or will Medicare reform simply mean more money spent on an expanded version of the traditional program? Are there viable alternatives for overhauling Medicare and improving seniors’ health care options?