A prescription drug benefit for senior citizens and other major changes in Medicare are now on their way to becoming law. The Senate this morning gave the final congressional approval to the Medicare bill — one of President Bush’s top priorities. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley has championed the bill, saying it will be a boon to all seniors. Grassley says “It will be hailed as a beginning of major change in Medicare, both from the standpoint of expanding services for people (and) giving more options beyond prescription drugs.” Grassley, a Republican, says the bill will also “finally, doing what we in Iowa have always been so concerned about, having the reimbursement for our rural hospitals and for our doctors less equal than in urban areas.” This morning’s final Senate vote was 54-to-44. Supporters of the legislation turned back two last-ditch attempts to derail the plan yesterday. Opponents say the bill is too generous to the drug and insurance industries. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, voted against it.
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