Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said the chances of passing a provider relief bill before the election are becoming increasingly remote. The 10-year, $43 billion package, which would include a broad range of payment assistance to hospitals and other providers, was introduced earlier this month by Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). At a briefing with reporters yesterday, Lott said the bill's price tag is too high and that without a Medicare prescription drug benefit would not do enough for seniors. At this point the bill requires the Senate's unanimous consent to move to the floor for consideration. "I don't think you'll see an agreement" before the November midterm election, Lott said. -- by Jeff Tieman
Lott adds nail to 'giveback' bill's coffin
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