The Senate today, debating Medicare reform and prescription drug legislation, rejected an amendment introduced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) that would have counted employers' contributions toward their retirees' drug costs. On a vote of 52-43, the Senate tabled that amendment, which essentially amounts to killing it.
The amendment would have counted the money both employers and retirees spend on drugs before the retiree reaches the proposed catastrophic limit of $3,700. Without the amendment, some 37% of seniors with employer-sponsored coverage will lose their benefits because employers would lose much of the incentive to subsidize drug coverage for retirees, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The Senate today continued debate on the Medicare reform bill; the House is expected to take up its bill on Thursday, with a vote in both chambers possible before the end of the week. -- by Jeff Tieman