Senator introduces budget amendment involving dual eligibles

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The Senate this week considered an amendment to the fiscal year 2006 budget reconciliation bill that would delay the enrollment of dual eligibles in the Medicare prescription drug program. It planned to vote on all scheduled amendments in the bill on Thursday.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) brought forward the bill that would hold off on enrolling the dual eligibles, or those enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare, by six months to make sure they enroll in the most appropriate drug plan. The amendment would cost $100 million, according to Murray, citing a Congressional Budget Office estimate.
The benefit calls for dual eligibles, who make up about 70% of nursing home residents, to be auto-enrolled in a plan.
In other budget news, President Bush said earlier this week he would veto the bill if it removes a fund to encourage private insurers to participate in the Medicare drug benefit. Eliminating the fund would save about $5.4 billion over five years.
(Published 11-4-05)