POWER SHIFT MAY AFFECT MEDICARE DEBATE

WASHINGTON -- The defection of Vermont Sen. James Jeffords from the Republican Party, scheduled to become official this week, could affect the debate on drug benefits for the elderly and the role of retail pharmacy in dispensing those drugs.With the balance of power in the Senate now tilted toward the Democrats, some industry watchers see a tougher road ahead for the type of drug- benefit plan proposed

WASHINGTON -- The defection of Vermont Sen. James Jeffords from the Republican Party, scheduled to become official this week, could affect the debate on drug benefits for the elderly and the role of retail pharmacy in dispensing those drugs.

With the balance of power in the Senate now tilted toward the Democrats, some industry watchers see a tougher road ahead for the type of drug- benefit plan proposed by the Bush Administration. Instead of that proposal, in which states would have r

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