Tuesday, November 25, 2003

On Today's $400 Billion Medicare Reform...

Although it will cost $400bn over ten years, the new bill provides far from universal coverage.

Only about one-third of drug costs will be covered through a complex formula that includes premiums, deductibles, and a gap in coverage once drug costs reach more than $2,250.

Under the new plan, private insurance companies will operate the new prescription drug benefit on behalf of the government - just as they do now under private policies called "Medigap" for seniors who may have company health plans with drug benefits.

And Congress promised an $86bn subsidy to big companies to ensure that they continue to offer such benefits to their retired workers.

The bill also gives an extra $25bn to rural hospitals, helping to gain the votes of Congressmen and Senators from the smaller Western states.

More on BBC News.

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