“In an interview yesterday, Dr. Mark B. McClellan, administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said that “several hundred thousand beneficiaries who switched plans” in December may have had difficulty filling prescriptions in the last two weeks”
This is something of an understatement. In fact, several states have declared health emergencies, to cope with this incredibly bungled roll-out.
"Republicans have joined Democrats in asserting that the federal government botched the beginning of the prescription drug program, which started on Jan. 1. People who had signed up for coverage found that they were not on the government’s list of subscribers. Insurers said they had no way to identify poor people entitled to extra help with their drug costs. Pharmacists spent hours on the telephone trying to reach insurance companies that administer the drug benefit under contract to Medicare.
Many of the problems involve low-income people entitled to both Medicare and Medicaid."
Is this yet another crony coming home to roost? Note that the congruence between Markie’s last name and Bush press guy Scott McLellan is not a coincidence–they be 'bros. No, really, not pals, brothers. Same parents, that kind of thing.
Anyway, this looks like another Bush administrator who could fuck up boiling water.
Pugs, is this just bad luck? Are you guys “snakebit”? Or is it just that you can’t run a big-money program without skimming so much that the program breaks down under the weight of the"legal graft"?(In this case the incredible vigorish that the insurers extracted as motivation to underwrite plans that are otherwise money-losers?)
you’ld think that once the theives had decided to spend what the needed to in order to cloak the millions they were making off with, they would at least set up the potemkin operation to creak along for a little while before the flaws became THIS obvious. These guys can"t even steal lemonade from a six year old without using strongarm tactics…
Report I heard said that of the six million people who were eligible, 20% were somehow missing from the listings.
Yeah, I guess that’s “several hundred thousand”!
Of course on top of that there is much confusion about which program provides which medications, some people on several meds.find that one or two of their meds. are available on a particular plan, but other meds. are not, the cheaper plans have a higher deductable which puts people on a fixed income in a quandry and finally, despite all the confusion, if you don’t sign up now there’s a permanant penalty in the form of higher premiums.
Of course we must not forget the prohibition on making drug companies bid for state medicare contracts.
Great job Dubya’, that must be the compassionate conservatism we’ve heard so much about!
The thing is, what they do is so obviously devoid of thought. for instance, they assigned people who were being shifted from medicaid to medicare (not necessarily a change one would want to make) RANDOMLY to one of the fifty or so private plans, with no thought whatever to the particular coverage idosyncrisies and how they interacted with the individual’s drug profile.
So in their fetish for “choice” (merely a shibboleth) they actually roll over any semblance of individual suitability of the plans that they penalize folks if they boycott.
What’s truly amazing is that despite providing unclear benefits and massive headaches for the individuals trying to sign up, the plan still provides a bill of $400 billion for the taxpayers in its first ten years. Oh, wait, did I say $400 billion? I’m sorry, I meant $540 billion. Oh, wait, did I say $540 billion? I meant $730 billion.
Now if we assume that the third figure is the truth even though the first two figures were blatant lies, that $730 billion that apparently couldn’t buy us adequate preparation or intelligent organization. All in all, this fiasco may be up there with the Katrina response and the bridge to nowhere as demonstrations of how the federal government currently can’t do anything right.
Just as further information; the McLellen boy’s mother is Texas Comptroller/Gubernatorial Candidate Carole Keeton Strayhorn.
This is a cluster-fuck of monumental proportions with pharmacists giving out drugs without knowing if they’ll be compensated. I have seen people on the local news who have gone from paying $7.00 for a prescription to paying $135.00 for that same prescription, also without knowing if they’ll ever get the difference back. Some food charities here are going to retirement homes to deliver food, so that people who have had their co-pay increase in this manner will have food to eat for the next month.
I can not believe how little press this gotten, considering how many people are effected.
the one about food charity deliveries had gotten past me…
I am baffled by the apparent unwillingness among the chatterati to label this monstrous giveaway to big pharma for what it is. In their zeal to use any opportunity to redistribute wealth upwards, the pugs have spent five times the benefit produced.
We have a lot of patients in my clinic who qualified for both Medicare and Medicaid; with the new Part D, a lot of them are being moved out of Medicaid. This means a chunk from their Social Security check and much larger copays than they were used to.
Most of the ones in our clinic who were Medicaid only and low income (which is most of them) were getting medicines through the drug companies and their indigent programs. Most drugs can be obtained from one of these programs, and we were very aggressive about getting patients signed up. Now that Part D is in effect, those who are eligible for Part D are no longer eligible for the indigent programs.
It’s hard to muster up sympathy for someone who pays $50-60/month for meds that retail for ten times that, but when they used to get them for nothing, you have to wonder what we’ve done with this huge, expensive program.
I maintain that the primary goal of Part D is to fail spectacularly and be a glaring bad example. That way, when President Edwards starts talking universal health care, his opponents can say, “You want the government to be more involved in health care? Need I remind you of the colossal clusterfuck of Medicare Part D?” It really doesn’t make any sense otherwise.
Remember on e thing, however. People in America are already putting up with a ridiculous amount of bureaucracy whenever they deal with the health care system. Anybody who has had to see a doctor to deal with a medical problem recently (and that includes almost every person of retirement age) could probably tell you a horror story involving getting pushed around between various offices, filling out dozens of useless forms, wading through piles of incomprehensible information, enduring long delays and fighting with the bureaucracy about billing. In that sense, the Prescription Drug Plan may not be all that much worse than normal.
Indeed, as frustration with the quasi half-public half-private healthcare system as a whole rises, people may become more inclined to accept a true socialist healthcare system.
That can be counteracted by pointing out that the administration hided the real costs and results from the American people and Congress. It was really a plan that Republicans and big Farma created:
Oh yeah, don’t forget that the mantra was that private industry was going to be more efficient, the big mislead (a lie in reality) is to call it part of Medicare, the medicine part is now controlled by private plans and when one considers that one of them is from the AARP…
the administration hided the real costs and results from the American people and Congress.*
and not just through non-disclosure; they actively suborned false reporting to Congfess onthe costs
How come none of that shit ever stuck to ANYBODY?? I mean, all of a sudden 500billion turns into 730 Billion, and no one fuckin’ blinks! Oh wait, they do put in aan extra $10.00 coopay per prescription to recoup those big bucks paid out to Pharma.
The saddest part is that no one has hit the massive slap in the face that is the doughnut hole yet. How much do you want to bet that thousands of seniors do not have any sort of gap coverage though they need it desperately?
and as far as I can tell, they have forced [eople who were on medicaid (no donut) over to medicare d even if they would otherwise have not sighed up for , nor incurred that premium
And THEN they hit the donut.
It looks like there’s going to be a major cost shifting tyo the poor, even assuming all of the ameliorative subsidies actually kick ih (which of course, per the article, they arenot…)
“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”
At the same link, read about BillyTauzin who was writing this bill two months before leaving to go to work for Pharma.
They simply have no fuckin’ shamel.
And, in passing, it seems that neither do we–because we should certainly be ashamed that these vultures can continue to be elected with biennial tedium.
How DARE they fuck up medication for an emotionally and psychologically fragile population (all over 65 by definition) and leave them twisting in the wind just because they are careless as well as larcenous.
Just wait till that cracker starts campaigning for congressmen, and he gets on stage and says “Let me have one of our seniors, come on up here, and tell me, how’re ya doin’ on the medicare d? Ya savin’ money”" I pray some ringer slips throuh and gives him the “oye como va” about how she’s eating dogfood cause the only donut in sight is the hole in her coverage.
The problems have been so widespread that more than 20 states have stepped in to pay drug claims that should have been paid by the federal Medicare program…
On Jan. 1, the federal government took responsibility for the drug coverage of low-income people dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. Mr. Schwarzenegger said this part of the new federal program had been operating with “an error rate of 20 percent” in California.