Onward

A request: Our two weekly newsletters, Health Policy Matters and Consumer Choice Matters, endeavor to keep you updated on the most important developments in health policy and the health care marketplace. We are most grateful for the countless comments you send telling us that the information is valuable to you. And you know that...

The Deal

Congressional negotiators have produced a compromise Medicare agreement that falls short of overall modernization of the program. But it does contain some important reforms that will set consumer-friendly initiatives in motion. I am convinced that negotiators have done everything they can to get as much reform as possible in this agreement. With so many...

Hitting the Wall

Tempers flared Thursday on Capitol Hill as Medicare negotiations appeared to hit the wall, with Chairman Bill Thomas saying publicly that a new compromise worked out by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist ?is guaranteed not to work.? Frist, believing that support of the AARP is vital to passing any Medicare deal, has quietly been...

The Final Stretch

The ideological divides between the House and Senate and between Republicans and Democrats are coming to a head as Medicare negotiators move into the final stretch in drafting a bill. Opponents continued this week to criticize the bill, especially the doughnut hole in the benefit and the risks of private plan options — criticisms...

How Much Things Change?

?and how much they stay the same. The health policy debates on both sides of the Atlantic are remarkably similar. There are entrenched forces determined to resist change and fight to the end for solidarity, even if it means the decline and decay of the very programs they are trying to protect. And there...

Down to the Wire

Medicare conferees appear to have completed work on the specifics of a prescription drug benefit for Medicare that basically follows the House structure. And now the fun begins. Senate Democrats announced yesterday that the magic number of 41 senators ? enough to sustain a filibuster ? vowed to vote against any bill that eventually...