In the 110th Congress, new leadership will bring new priorities. However, we have to be realistic: President Bush will continue to occupy the White House for two more years.
Instead of working toward quality healthcare for everyone, President Bush wants to dismantle the parts of our healthcare system that workMedicare, Medicaid and the coverage that most of us receive through our jobs. We cant expect too much from a president who ignores the overwhelming majority of Americans who support life-saving stem-cell therapy.
That doesnt mean Congress will be at a standstill on healthcare. On the contrary, we will be working to make much-needed improvements in our health system, helping to control rising costs and slow the loss of insurance coverage. But for the next two years, our efforts will be more incremental than some of us, me included, would prefer. (See related story, p. 28.)
Initially Congress will focus on Speaker Nancy Pelosis (D-Calif.) Six for 06 agenda, which includes two important healthcare items: fixing the Medicare prescription-drug program so that the HHS secretary negotiates drug discounts for Medicare beneficiaries and passing legislation to promote real stem-cell research. The House of Representatives will pass these two initiatives in January, setting the stage for meaningful action on healthcare in the months to come: