White House Still Hopeful for Medicare Giveback Deal
The White House is "still determined to press for deals" on legislation to restore Medicare funding cut by the 1997 Balanced Budget Act when Congress returns next week, though the administration's main focus will likely be on the outstanding FY 2001 appropriations bills, CongressDaily reports. One "top White House official" said White House aides hold "somewhat higher hopes for the 'givebacks'" than for an outstanding tax cut/minimum wage package, calling the Medicare bill a "real priority" for both the administration and Congress. But CongressDaily reports that the administration considers the last four appropriations bills to be the "best opportunity for deals," as most of the measures' provisions were agreed to before the election. The Medicare givebacks will be "a little tougher...to work through," White House Press Secretary Jake Siewert said, though he added that the administration is "certainly willing to work with Congress" to pass the giveback legislation (Koffler/Caruso, CongressDaily, 11/29). President Clinton has previously said the Medicare legislation, in its current form, gives too much money to HMOs and not enough to providers (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 11/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.