Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Here's What Happens When You Give Republicans The Keys To The Car

They drive it off a cliff. Read this article, Medicare's botched drug benefit roll-out. It's truly sad what Republicans have done to seniors:
Medicare's $728 billion prescription-drug program was supposed to bring relief to seniors and subsidize our country's neediest beneficiaries. There would be a ''seamless transition,'' to the new program for low-income seniors, promised Mark McClellan, chief of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The actual roll-out has been an unmitigated disaster.

Many of the sickest and poorest beneficiaries nationwide are going without life-sustaining medication because of program failures, misinformation and confusion. The federal government has botched the roll-out of one of the most-expensive entitlement programs ever, and the frail elderly are paying the price in pain, aggravation and tears. Congress should rethink the program and fix flaws inherent in the overly complicated program.
Don't forget that your Congressman has been touting this plan for quite some time:
For many of our seniors, prescription drugs are a part of everyday life. Doctors prescribe them for short-term illnesses as well for as the management and treatment of chronic ailments such as high cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes. These necessary medications, however, can be expensive, and many people have been forced to cut back on their drug dosage or forgo them altogether because of cost. No senior should have to make that decision.

In recent weeks, you might have seen information about different Medicare plans available. Seniors will have many coverage choices that will provide access to generous benefits and low or no premiums.

[...]

When Congress crafted this legislation, it was a priority to introduce competition to the process. As expected, competition has had the intended effect -– it is driving down drug prices and premiums for our seniors. There are many plans available that have no premiums or no deductibles. According to Medicare, a typical beneficiary with no coverage today will save about 50 percent on prescription drug costs under the new program.
I don't think making seniors go without their medications was the intended effect, but eventually, it will supposedly cost less. Considering the cover-up of the cost and the unprecedented length of time they held the vote open on the final vote for this bill, it's no wonder Rep. Carter would rather go to a conference call at the DFW airport instead of being there for his constituents at the town hall meetings on this issue.

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