June 14,2000

Committee To Begin Reviewing Medicare Reform Options

Roth and Moynihan Release Documents Outlining Proposals

WASHINGTON -- The Senate Finance Committee will begin a series of closed, informal meetings to review options for modernizing the Medicare program, including consideration of a prescription drug benefit, beginning Thursday, June 15. Chairman William V. Roth, Jr. (R-DE) today released the documents that the committee will use as a starting point to develop a consensus modernization outline.

Committee discussions will focus on the following six areas to secure the Medicare program for the 21st century:

Medicare+Choice and health plan competition;

Fee-for-service plan management modernization;

Benefit design improvements within the current law standard package;

Access to outpatient prescription drug coverage;

Medicare governance; and

Medicare solvency standards.

"It is my hope that these meetings will result in a bipartisan proposal for Medicare reform. We will be looking at a number of options in several issue areas, including benefit improvements, process modernizations, and improved governance capabilities. If we can reach a consensus, we will mark up legislation in July," Roth stated.

Ranking Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) stated, "If Medicare was first being established today, it clearly would include prescription drug coverage. I hope that we can move forward, in a bipartisan manner, to add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare in conjunction with other reforms to secure the long-term solvency of the Medicare program."

The meetings will continue on Wednesday, June 21 and Thursday, June 22. Documents released to Committee members today are available on the Committee's web site at www.senate.gov/~finance.