Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 41398
Berkeley CSUA MOTD
2019/04/20 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

2006/1/17-18 [Health] UID:41398 Activity:nil
1/16    The medicare drug plan fiasco:
2019/04/20 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

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next >> (January 16, 2006 -- 08:42 PM EDT) TPM Reader J on the Medicare prescription drug law debacle ... Josh- I have been surprised by the amount of silence on Medicare Part D in the blogosphere. A fiasco of this magnitude deserves the same sort of deafening response that the FEMA response received. This has become a big, big story this month which has given many likely voters a significantly negative personal experience with Republican corruption. Public health emergencies have now been declared in twelve states. There will be political consequences for the party responsible. There is already a wide popular conception among the affected portions of the public that the drug benefit was designed not in good faith, but to enrich insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry. Arbitrary drug classes like benzodiazepenes and barbiturates are specifically excluded from coverage. Congress left no clue as to the legislative intent of the exclusion. Someone seems to have decided that these two drug classes are incompatible with some Biblical teaching. Or maybe the competing drug classes are much more profitable for someone's campaign contributors (as both benzodiazepines and barbiturates are cheap and produced as generics, unlike their likely treatment alternatives). As a result the nation's psychiatrists are going batshit right now, trying to figure out what to do with patients on drug regimens for things like seizures. Just like Katrina, and Iraqi reconstruction difficulties, this is an unfolding disaster that could be seen approaching from a mile away beforehand. The government took little or no preparation before the deadline to make sure things would run smoothly. As usual, someone in charge seems to have assumed that the invisible hand of the markets would take care of everything, or something. As a result, phone lines are clogged, web sites are down or inaccessible, pharmacists and doctors have no idea what is going on after being kept out of the loop, and seniors themselves are panicked, confused, and freaking out. Last year's Social Security discussion was abstract for most senior citizens. They were specifically told it "would not affect them" and yet they were instrumental in destroying the Bush privatization attempts. Medicare Plan D isn't like that at all- it's right in their faces. Old people (and their adult children trying to help them) are getting hit with nasty surprises at pharmacies everywhere this month. And they are MAD They are being snowed under by the confusing paperwork and tricky decisions they are being forced to make. Many have yet to find out that the plan they're in won't cover the drugs they're on, or that they were automatically and quietly disenrolled from superior private coverage. And later in the year, say around November, a significant portion of beneficiaries will have entered their Part-D "doughnut-holes" and will be paying a monthly premium to receive zero benefits! Might a surprise jump in monthly expenses affect voting behavior around then, if it can easily be associated with the party that calls Medicare Part D their "signature domestic achievement"? Yes, yes and I reserve the right to revise and extend my remarks later to say yes again.