House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) has informed President Bush that the President's Medicare reform proposal is "unworkable," Hastert told the Chicago Tribune editorial board on Monday.
"I don't think you can do it humanely," Hastert says he told the president, "I don't think you can do it politically. I don't think it's practical."
Bush's Medicare proposal would introduce a prescription drug benefit for Medicare beneficiaries who enroll in a new managed care program. Medicare beneficiaries could remain in the traditional fee-for-service program, enroll in regional HMOs that offer prescription drug coverage or enroll in private health plans with enhanced fee-for-service benefits that include prescription drug coverage.
Other powerful Republicans besides Hastert are also questioning Bush's plan.
Also on Monday, Senate Finance Committee Chair Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said that the Bush administration has "botched" the Medicare prescription drug proposal, the Washington Times reports.
"They don't have it well thought out about what they want to do," Grassley says. "And they've leaked too much and said too much to the demagogues of the other party, who believe that only the government can deliver healthcare."