09:31 ET PRESCRIPTION-DRUG PROGRAM FOR MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES SEEN AS UNLIKELY
WASHINGTON, Jun 19, 2000, (A. M. Best via COMTEX) -- Politicians will continue
to talk about extending prescription-drug benefits to Medicare recipients, but
it's doubtful that Congress will go along with a program that is expected to
cost taxpayers about $40 billion a year, according to one industry analyst.
Tom Scully, president and chief executive officer of the Federation of American
Health Systems, said at a briefing that Congress won't go along with either
political party's announced prescription drug programs. Scully said each program
would cost about $40 billion annually, although the programs take different
That's a lot of money for this or the next Congress to consider, particularly
for a new program, Scully said. Congress won't go along with the proposed
prescription drug plan for fear of it fiscally "blowing up and going out of
control," he said.
Also Scully noted that the Congressional Budget Office is expected to release
shortly its "mid-session review" that will show federal Medicare savings of
"tens of billions" for the next five fiscal years.
In its monitoring of Medicare, the federation anticipates the government will
show $82.7 billion in additional savings for the period 2001-2005, producing a
total savings of $247.5 billion for the fiscal years 1998-2002 funding cycle and
$247.5 billion for the 2001- 2005 funding cycle.
Scully noted that savings from Medicare go to general federal operating accounts
instead of health-care programs or hospitals and nursing homes.
The federation said that the nation's hospitals "are in dire straits for both
long-term viability and continued community outreach," and the $82.7 billion
windfall "needs to be returned to the program to allow providers to continue to
meet the needs of our nation's 39 million senior and disabled Americans."
Scully described projected Medicare savings as the source of overall federal
spending. "Medicare is in the (federal) budget" because it drives "federal
(spending) policy," he said.
(By Len Famiglietti, Washington bureau manager: Leonard.Famiglietti@ambest.com)
Copyright (C) 2000 by A. M. Best Company, Inc.
09:31 ET TECHNIQUE ALLOWS INSIDE VIEW OF ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE
WASHINGTON, June 19 (UPI) -- Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania
Medical Center say they have developed a technique that allows them to track the
impact of treatments on the waxy substance -- called amyloid plaque -- that
riddles the brain when Alzheimer's disease is present.
09:31 ET COCAINE USAGE AMONG YOUNG SPANIARDS DOUBLES IN FOUR YEARS-REPORT
Madrid, Jun 20, 2000 (EFE via COMTEX) -- Drug use among young Spaniards is on
the rise and the number of youths who have tried cocaine has doubled over the
past four years, according to a government report released this week.
09:31 ET SOME 9,500 MALARIA CASES IN HONDURAS SO FAR IN 2000
Tegucigalpa, Jun 19, 2000 (EFE via COMTEX) -- Some 9,500 cases of malaria have
been registered in Honduras during the first five months of this year, an
official spokesman from the Health Ministry announced Monday.
09:31 ET SCIENTISTS CALL FOR SCIENTIFIC HEALTH CARE
BEIJING (June 20) XINHUA - A group of scientists including medical experts
attending a seminar held by the China Association for Science and Technology
today called for scientific health care against superstition and pseudoscience.
07:30 ET S. AFRICA LAUNCHES FIVE-YEAR HIV/AIDS PLAN
JOHANNESBURG (June 19) XINHUA - South African Health Minister Manto
Tshabalala-Msimang Monday launched a five-year HIV/AIDS plan here to prevent new
infections in the country and minimize the impact of the pandemic.
07:30 ET SIX ETHNIC GENE BANKS ESTABLISHED IN NORTHEAST CHINA
HARBIN (June 19) XINHUA - Six ethnic gene banks have been established in the
Harbin Medical Sciences University in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.
The genes of six ethnic minority groups including the Mongolian and the Xibo are