Medicare Prescription Drug Proposals: An Update

After years of discussion and debate, both Houses of Congress  appeared ready in 2003 to begin floor consideration of bills on Medicare prescription drug coverage. These bills embody perhaps the biggest changes in Medicare since its enactment in 1965.

What are the major proposed changes? What are the major ways in which House and Senate proposals differ from each other and from current law?

To answer these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Kaiser Family Foundation sponsored a June 26, 2003 briefing. The event offered an up-to-the-minute overview of the major provisions of the bills, including the financing provisions, based on a new comparative analysis by the respected firm, Health Policy Alternatives. Beth Fuchs of Health Policy Alternatives will present the initial analysis of the two bills. Then, major stakeholders offered their opinions of the pros and cons of the bills. These panelists included: Mike Naylor of AARP, Diana Dennett of the American Association of Health Plans, and Ian Spatz of Merck and C