Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 43001
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2018/11/21 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
11/21   

2006/5/10-12 [Health, Health/Disease/General] UID:43001 Activity:nil
5/10    How a regular person can give Dubya good advice (on Medicare Part D)
        http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/05/20060509-5.html
        Look for the first "Applause" line in response to a questioner.
2018/11/21 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
11/21   

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Cache (8192 bytes)
www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/05/20060509-5.html
President George W Bush is introduced by his brother Florida Governor Jeb Bush before delivering remarks on the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit in Sun City Center, Florida, Tuesday, May 9, 2006. White House photo by Eric Draper And both of us married well. The First Lady of Florida is a fantastic woman, and so is the First Lady of the United States. Yesterday she represented us in Costa Rica -- they inaugurated a new President, and they sent the word back, please send the best in your family. He's a smart person and he's a good guy to work with, and I appreciate you being here, Adam. I want to thank the WCI Communities' leadership and staff for having me here. What I thought I would do is spend a little time talking about the new Medicare program. The reason I'm doing this, because I want people to sign up. And then I'm going to go to Orlando and do the same thing tomorrow morning -- just like I did earlier in South Florida. And the reason why I'm doing this is because we have changed Medicare for the better, but sometimes change creates anxieties. In other words, people say, well, maybe I don't want to change. I kind of like it the way things are and -- but we have a duty to educate people and give them a chance to see what's available. As you know, Medicare was signed by one of my predecessors -- happen to be from the state of Texas, Lyndon Baines Johnson. And once you make a commitment, it seems like to me it makes sense to make the commitment a good commitment. Medicare had done a -- provided a lot of comfort for a lot of people, but it was getting old and stale, and needed to be reformed. And one reason it needed to be reformed is because it did not provide prescription drug coverage. In other words, Medicare would pay for a surgery, say, like ulcer surgery, for $28,000, but wouldn't pay $500 for the prescription drugs that would have prevented the ulcer in the first place. See, medicine had changed with the advent of prescription drugs, but Medicare hadn't. President George W Bush delivers remarks on the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit in Sun City Center, Florida, Tuesday, May 9, 2006. White House photo by Eric Draper So I thought it made sense to make Medicare work better, to keep our commitment to our seniors. And we are now explaining to people what the modernized system means. Nobody is going to say, you've got to sign up for this, but I think we have a duty to say to people, please take a look at it. The first thing that's in the new system I think is important is that every senior now entering Medicare is eligible for a "Welcome to Medicare" physical exam. And that makes a lot of sense it seems like to me, to say, here's a physical for you. The best way to cure disease is to anticipate it and prevent it from happening in the first place -- is to be able to catch illnesses early through screenings. Part of a modern, effective health care says that we'll encourage prevention. Helping to prevent disease is going to be a really important part of a modern system, whether you're on Medicare or not on Medicare; whether you're a guy like me, or whether you're a person who's eligible for Medicare. The prescription drug coverage, first of all, helps all seniors pay for prescription drugs, no matter how they've paid before. In other words, everybody should take a look at the prescription drug coverage. Secondly, what's interesting about the new program is it provides choices for seniors. You know, I knew that when we put -- laid out the idea of giving seniors choices, it would create a little confusion for some. I mean, after all, up to now there hadn't been much -- many choices in the system, and all of a sudden, a senior who feels pretty good about things says, here's old George W and Mike Leavitt or Jeb, or somebody say, take a look, and all of a sudden 46 choices pop up. The reason why we felt it was necessary to provide choices is because we want the system to meet the needs of the consumer. The more choices you have, the more likely it is you'll be able to find a program that suits your specific needs. In other words, one size fits all is not a consumer-friendly program. And I believe in consumers, I believe in trusting people. I did know that there would be some worries about having to choose from 40 different plans, but I thought it was worth it because I know that 40 different plans here in Florida will mean that individual can tailor a plan to meet his or her needs. Well, we encouraged all kinds of people to help -- AARP is helping; faith-based programs are helping people sort through the programs to design a program that meets their needs. I readily concede some seniors have said, there are so many choices, I don't think I want to participate. Thirdly, seniors with the highest drug costs are going to get extra help in this modernized Medicare. Drug costs over $3,600 a year will be -- any costs over that will be picked up by 95 percent by the federal government. Part of the reason you modernize medicine this way is to give people peace of mind. You know that if you sign up for the program and something goes terribly wrong and your prescription drug bills skyrocket, the government is there to help, after $3,600. And that's important for families and its important for our seniors, to have that notion that there's stopgap insurance, that there's help beyond a certain level of costs. And third -- and fourthly, there's extra help for low-income seniors. If you qualify as a low-income senior -- this is about a third of our seniors here in America -- the prescription drug coverage includes little or no premiums, low deductibles, no gaps in insurance. On average, the government will pay more than 95 percent of the cost for prescription drugs for low-income seniors. It's really important for people to take a look and see whether or not there's a program that meets your needs. It's about 42 million folks eligible for Medicare in the United States, a little more than that. In other words, since January, people have said, I think I'm going to take a look and get involved in this new program. There's six million more who have an alternative source of coverage. In other words, they're plenty happy with the plans they have. And this program -- by the way, nobody forces anybody to do anything. So this 37 million of the little more than 42 million people that have got coverage, and we're working hard to sign up the remaining eligible seniors. And they're signing up -- a lot of people signing up, as we head toward a May 15th deadline. If you are eligible for extra help, if you're a low-income senior, the May 15th deadline does not apply to you. In other words, you can apply after May 15th without penalty. And that's important for low-income seniors to understand. we want people to understand that there are really good benefits for seniors. The average senior is going to save one-half on his or her cost -- one-half on the cost of prescription drugs. We were meeting, as I said, in South Florida earlier, and some of the stories down there for people who signed up were really strong stories -- people saving money, people got a little extra money in their pocket. The other interesting thing that's happened is -- just so the people out there who are wondering whether or not this is cost-effective, whether or not this makes sense to do -- first of all, I think it makes a lot of sense to do. We don't want seniors choosing between food and medicine. Secondly, because there's competition for you -- in other words, somebody said, here's some different options for you, the average premium seniors pay for the prescription drug benefit is $25 a month -- on average. And that's down from an anticipated cost of $37 a month. In other words, when somebody bids for your business, it tends to be -- it helps on price. In Florida, the lowest cost option is about $10 a month. There are many zero-dollar premium Medicare advantage plans available for our seniors to choose from. And as a result of people competing for your business, it's saving the taxpayers money. In other words, people said, well, it's going to cost X Well, it's costing 20 percent less. And s...