Prospects for Health Care: Where Will New Congressional Leadership Take Us?

December 8, 2006

Come January, we can expect to see some new approaches to health legislation. Sen. Harry Reid, incoming Senate majority leader, says one of his top three priorities will be more funding for stem cell research. House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi wants a vote early on to roll back the prohibition against the federal government negotiating prescription drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries. And these are just two of the health issues likely to be debated in the new Congress. The White House too will have a definite voice in the debates to come.

What will the health related priorities of the congressional leadership and the White House be? Will the Medicare program change the way it pays providers and deals with pharmaceutical companies? Are there changes in store for SCHIP with reauthorization next year? What are the prospects for FDA reform? How will the Administration and the Congress react to the Medicaid commission’s recent recommendations? Will the federal government follow the lead of some states and address the problem of the uninsured?

To discuss these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Kaiser Family Foundation sponsored a December 8 briefing. Panelists included: Julie Goon, White House domestic policy staff; Wendell Primus, Office of presumptive Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi; Kate Leone, Office of incoming Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid and Elizabeth Hall, Office of Senate Majority Leader, William H. Frist.


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