Lawmakers negotiating a final Medicare reform bill publicly acknowledged they will not meet an Oct. 17 deadline set by some Republicans. The House-Senate conference committee is attempting to decide how $400 billion should be spent adding a drug benefit to Medicare and increasing payments to rural providers. The debate, in addition to partisan disputes over the extent to which Medicare should compete with private health plans, has bogged down the process. Negotiators continue to meet and are expected to discuss competition provisions Friday. -- by Jeff Tieman
Lawmakers say they'll blow Medicare deadline
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