One year after President Bush signed the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, 53% of seniors who voted in the November election said they knew of the law's prescription drug benefit and 33% said they were likely to sign up for the benefit, according to poll of 1,400 Americans. Seven out of 10 Americans polled opposed cutting Medicare hospital reimbursement to reduce the federal deficit, and less than 1% favored cutting federal healthcare programs as a first step in deficit reduction. The poll was released by the Federation of American Hospitals. Read the results.
Separately, HHS announced the nine disease-management organizations that will participate in a pilot program authorized by the Medicare act, and pressed by reporters, HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson said a government panel examining the re-importation of prescription drugs would not meet its deadline to release a report on the issue today. Thompson said he could not explain the delay or say when a report would be available. HHS was ordered to explore the feasibility of drug re-importation by the Medicare act. The nine organizations in the pilot program, which is aimed at reducing Medicare costs and improving care for chronic conditions, are: Aetna Health Management; American Healthways; Cigna HealthCare; Health Dialog Services Corp.; Humana; LifeMasters Supported SelfCare; McKesson Health Solutions; a partnership of Visiting Nurse Service of New York and United Healthcare Services; and XLHealth. -- by Tony Fong