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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

'Despite its flaws,' Nelson will vote for health care bill fixes



Senator_bill_nelson Sen. Bill Nelson is about to deliver a floor speech in which he says "despite its flaws" he will vote for the House's package of "fixes" to the legislation already approved by the Senate. He defends his amendment that grandfathered in Medicare Advantage benefits -- a deal that got blasted with other state-specific deals.

"You know, there’s been an awful lot of misinformation going around about something called Medicare Advantage," Nelson said. "Fact is, the original Senate bill proposed an unfair way to fix over-payments to these private Medicare plans. The fix would have come at the expense of seniors living in areas with high medical costs, like my state of Florida. ...

"Under this reconciliation bill, the president has proposed another way to rein in Medicare Advantage companies – one that upon close inspection also treats seniors fairly. It puts companies on the hook for their performance. If they don’t provide quality service, their reimbursements are cut."

Nelson said he was not entirely satisfied with concessions from drugmakers. Nelson unsuccessfully sought deeper savings on prescriptions than the White House had worked out.

"This would have saved us an estimated $106 billion, which is more than enough to close the doughnut hole altogether, and then make a dent in offsetting the federal deficit," he said. "I, for one, intend to come back here and revisit this."


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:24am]


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