House subcommittee to re-examine all Medicare plans

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Medicare, including its prescription drug program and the program's overpayments to healthcare providers, will be the target of much scrutiny by the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee in the 110th Congress, according to full committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-NY).

In a nine-page letter sent to several lawmakers, Rangel said the health subcommittee would conduct oversight on just about every aspect of Medicare, from the Part D drug benefit to managed care plans to quality improvement among providers. The aim is to ensure the "efficient use of resources, quality, and access for Medicare beneficiaries," Rangel said in his letter.

The House has started already made headway on its aggressive healthcare agenda by passing a bill requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies on prices for medications under the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit.