Lawmakers Work On Medicare Drug And Mental Health Legislation

House Democrats are preparing to introduce legislation on Medicare drug prices and an effort to tackle some individual health issues while Congress debates a comprehensive bill.

Congress Daily: "Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and more than 50 House members will propose legislation today that directs Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices. Aides said Friday the bill is not expected on the floor this week, but possibly as early as next week. The bill is the same as Welch's amendment that was included in the House's overhaul bill." It was cut, however, from the Senate bill and President Barack Obama's proposal (Edney, 3/3).

Meanwhile, McKnight's Long Term Care News reports that a bill championed by Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, would eliminate the current lifetime cap for inpatient mental health services for Medicare patients. "The current rules allow for only 190 days of inpatient psychiatric hospital care over the course of a Medicare beneficiary's entire life. ... The newly proposed Medicare Mental Health Inpatient Equity Act would put Medicare coverage on par with private health insurance coverage" (3/3).

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