Tight budgets may constrain what the Democrats can do about health care in 2007.
Capitol Hill staffers gave that assessment here earlier this week during a briefing on health care sponsored by the Alliance for Health Reform, Washington.
House members, for example, included making health care more affordable on their “6 for 06″ campaign platform this fall, but financial concerns will affect efforts to take steps such as reducing or eliminating the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan “donut hole,” speakers said.
The donut hole is a gap in basic Part D benefits that affects plan members who exhaust everyday drug benefits and have not yet spent enough on covered prescriptions to qualify for catastrophic coverage.
This year, the donut hole stretches from $2,250 to $5,100.
The government covers donut hole expenses for the poorest plan members, and it pays 95% of the tab for expenditures over the $5,100 mark.
House leaders are serious about returning to the old “pay as you go” rules of the early 1990s, speakers said.