President Bush next Monday will sign into law the most sweeping changes to the Medicare program since its inception in 1965, adding a prescription drug benefit and boosting payments to providers. The signing will take place at a to-be-determined location in the Washington area, a White House spokesman said. The $395 billion measure took a long road to the president. The House passed a Medicare reform bill last year, but the Senate rejected it. This year Bush proposed Medicare reform in January, and debate continued until the final moments before Congress adjourned for Thanksgiving. Analysts predict that the bill will require significant changes over the coming years. In fact, Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) has introduced legislation that would nullify some provisions, including one to test a system in which Medicare would compete directly with private health plans. Modern Healthcare will break down the comprehensive reform measure in a special section of its Dec. 22/29 edition. -- by Jeff Tieman
Bush set to sign Medicare bill next Monday
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