Houses Passes Medicare Prescription Drug Legislation

The House on November 22, 2003 passed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Bill of 2003 (H.R. 1) by a close vote of 220 to 215. The tax provisions of the bill include the establishment of new Health Savings Accounts and an exclusion for federal subsidies of prescription drug plans. The measure now moves to the Senate, where the vote is also expected to be close. Both tax and non-tax provisions of the bill are viewed as controversial. Congress also approved a continuing resolution to keep the government funded through January, an indication that Congress is preparing for the possibility that it may not complete its work on pending legislation, particularly appropriations legislation, before adjourning for the holidays.


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