Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) has been named coordinator of the Senate Democratic Task Force on Health Care, where she will "help shape the debate" on prescription drugs and a broad range of other industry issues,said Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), who appointed Stabenow to the post.
Stabenow, 52, a junior senator who served two terms in the House before moving to the other side of the Capitol in 2000, has been a vocal proponent of adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. Last week, she lashed out at the Bush administration for its nascent plan to reform the system with private sector involvement.
"In Michigan, the kinds of things proposed by the White House simply haven't worked," Stabenow said last week, referring to President Bush's plan to allow seniors to enroll in private managed-care plans as an alternative to traditional Medicare.
In last year's congressional session, Stabenow served as coordinator of the Senate Prescription Drug Task Force, where she helped pass a bill making it easier and faster to bring low-cost generic drugs to market. Although that bill never made it through the House, Stabenow vows she is still committed to the issue.
"Our goal remains to create a prescription drug benefit within Medicare, and to continue the fight to lower the price of prescription drugs for everyone," she said.