June 05, 2004

Medicare Prescription Drug Cards

So Bush's brain decided that the Republicans could steal the Medicare issue from the Democrats by providing a new benefit for seniors: prescription drug cards. What a compassionate conservative. Not.

If you have any chance to talk with seniors, they are pretty unanimous that this particular benefit is a huge ripoff to benefit the drug companies. (Wonder why they might think that?)

Yet, just in time for the runup to the election, the new prescription drug cards are now available. So what is the reaction? Confusion, anger and just plain disgust if the articles and discussions I've heard lately are any indicator.

GailOnline provides a link to one oped in an Arizona paper that brings up the point that most seniors are ignoring the whole thing because it is too damn confusing.

We would like to offer a word of sympathy to the millions of senior citizens who can now avail themselves of a new discount prescription drug card. It will take considerable perseverance for most people to figure out whether the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act (MMA), which went into effect this week, is actually a social service or just another quagmire.

...By far the biggest problem for those eligible for the prescription drug program is its complexity. An April editorial in the Los Angeles Times noted that "a coalition of state health insurance plan directors recently estimated that it would take 2 1/2 hours to fully explain it to one beneficiary."

The federal government put up a Web site that is supposed to help simplify the process of figuring out which of the 48 discount cards is best for a particular consumer. (emphasis added)

Considering that seniors can change their cards once within a year, while drug companies can change their prices and the drugs they provide weekly, it will be quite a coup if any of these cards pay off for those that spend their hours of work to pick just the right one.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons that Arizona is now in play for Kerry? Certainly Bush's brain yoked to big pharm greed has created a Frankenstein benefit that could play out big in this next election, but not quite how Rove foresaw it.

Posted by Mary at June 5, 2004 06:09 AM | Health/Medicine/Health Care | Technorati links |