The Senate is expected to begin debating a $399 billion Medicare reform package Monday after it passed the Senate Finance Committee by a vote of 16-5 last night. Besides adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare, the bill would give rural hospitals some $25 billion in additional payments over 10 years and prohibit physicians from owning a stake in hospitals devoted exclusively to cardiac, orthopedic, surgical or other specialty care. In addition, certain border hospitals providing care to illegal immigrants would receive $1 billion in additional funding over five years. Yesterday, House leaders outlined elements of their own Medicare reform bill. The two versions, if passed, would have to be reconciled. Lawmakers in both chambers said they are optimistic that a bill will go to President Bush for signature. -- by Jeff Tieman
Medicare reform bill moves to full Senate
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