House Republicans won hospital associations? support for their Medicare prescription drug bill but gave associationsless than half of their original request, Rep. William Thomas (R-Ca.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said yesterday. Thomas, speaking to reporters about the introduction of the drug bill that also includes provider payment changes, said the American Hospital Association asked for more than $20 billion over 10 years, but agreed to support the bill after getting changes that will give hospitals about $9 billion over 10 years. Changes to hospital Medicare payments proposed in the GOP bill include a higher-than-scheduled inflation adjustment in 2003 and the elimination of differences in hospital pay based on whether a hospital is large or small and in an urban or rural area. ??There should be no differential in the payment to those hospitals,?? Thomas said. Also, the bill provides increases to Medicare physician pay from fiscal 2003 to 2005 that will cost $11 billion over 10 years, according to Thomas. The House Ways and Means Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee are discussing the bill today.
Half a Medicare loaf better than none?
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