The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services probably will stick to the current May 15 registration deadline for the new Medicare Part D prescription drug program.
Democrats who would like to see the Bush administration extend the deadline acknowledged that an extension is unlikely at a recent hearing of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health.
Under current program rules, Medicare beneficiaries who sign up for Part D coverage after May 15 may end up paying a higher rate for coverage.
Rep. Fortney Pete Stark, D-Calif., the most senior Democrat on the subcommittee, noted that Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt confirmed the administration’s commitment to the May 15 deadline during a Senate committee hearing.
But Stark said he was “hoping you guys would have an epiphany.”