White House's attempt to push Medicare expenses blocked

An attempt by the Bush administration to save money on Medicare expenses by paying for only the least expensive treatments for particular conditions was blocked by the Federal District Court. The case at hand involved drugs to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Judge Henry Kennedy said that were it to rule in the Bush administration's favor, the Health and Human Services secretary would have too much say in costs for every item covered by Medicare. Currently, Congress sets Medicare payment rates.

"This flies in the face of the detailed statutory provisions," Kennedy said.

Scott T. Williams, vice president of the Men's Health Network, agreed with the decision of the court, saying that if Medicare paid only for the least expensive drugs, lower-income patients might not have the same access to quality care.

For more:
- read this New York Times article