Clinton's Health Care Reform Cries Will Go Unanswered
One example: The Democrats supporting Medicare coverage of outpatient drugs
believe that the federal government should run the reimbursement system, just
as it does now. This would put enormous power and leverage in the hands of
federal bureaucrats but would enable the government to control prices and
The Republicans supporting outpatient prescription drug coverage want it
administered through existing private insurance plans. They argue that about
two-thirds of the elderly now have some prescription drug coverage, and the
coverage can be extended to all seniors by providing federal dollars. They
argue that not everyone needs the same coverage and therefore not everyone
should be required to pay for it.
The only way that legislation can be enacted next year or in subsequent
years is if a compromise can be reached between these two very different views
of the role of government.
For this year, the prognosis seems clear: Given this year's elections, there
is no way that such differences can be reconciled in 75 legislative days. It is
becoming more evident that President Clinton will have to look elsewhere for
Wayne Pines, WebMD's Washington columnist, is a former Associate
Commissioner and Chief Spokesman of the Food and Drug Administration. The
opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of WebMD.