Saturday, February 11, 2006

Enroll or Die: Which Do You Choose?

Okay, is it just me or do people get tangled up in the rhetoric spewing forth from the lips of the W, Rove and Co? Excuse me if I don't believe you when you suggest things are successful simply because people are enrolling. When it is a choice between enrolling or dying, which do you think people will do, even if they are confused as hell about what they are enrolling in? Lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics:
Since the program went into effect six weeks ago, more than 24 million people with Medicare now have prescription drug coverage, and hundreds of thousands more are enrolling each week. The competition in the prescription drug market has been stronger than expected and is lowering costs for taxpayers and seniors alike. This year, the Federal government will spend 20 percent less overall on the Medicare drug benefit than projected just last July. The average premium that seniors pay is a third less than had been expected -- just $25 per month, instead of $37 per month. And the typical senior will end up spending about half of what they used to spend on prescription drugs each year.
Okay, but I have some questions for you W:
  1. How many millions of people were already enrolled in Medicare before your prescription drug retooling? In other words, why is the number 24 million a good thing?
  2. How do you know the competition is stronger? Where's the proof?
  3. Even though the monthly premium is 25 bucks as opposed to $ 37, if you don't get your drugs because you are confused by the program, are the costs still lower?
But he goes further:
Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt has traveled to 18 states in the past three weeks to meet with governors and make sure the prescription drug program is working for everyone, and we're making good progress. We're ensuring that drug plans have more up-to-date information on their beneficiaries, and we're improving data-sharing among Medicare, health plans, and the states. We have also extended the transition period from 30 days to 90 days, to guarantee that seniors do not go without the medicine they need as they switch to a new drug plan. We have also acted to ensure that phone calls to the Medicare help line are now answered with little or no waiting time, and we're working with insurers to help them do the same on their phone lines.
If it's working so well, why has the State of California (and four others) lined up a law suit against the W, Rove and Co for this very program?

It would be fantastic if any bloggers out there can comment about the "success" of this program for them - that is, if you have been forced to enroll in this new program, what has the experience been like for you. Let's get some real people out there talking about their experiences other than the ones they cite in their speeches.

Blog on all.


enigma4ever said...

Great post...and really good questions that there are no answers....well, not answers that work for the People...

I have seen alot of this at the pharmacy....older folks really stressed trying to fathom through this labrynth hell...

there is NO ONE, that this Regime has not made life Hellish????

enigma4ever said...

By the way I will blog on a Horror story I have been tracking related to this very issue- and it concerns a neighbor and the prescription hell he entered this a couple of days..Blog on you are doing a great job...

SheaNC said...

As an employee of a California social services (food stamps, welfare, etc) department, I can tell you that the concensus in our office is that the medicare drug plan is a disaster. Indeed, California has had to bail out the feds to help people because the plan is such a crashing failure. For everyone except the big pharmacy/Bush campaign donors, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Had an accident? Sign up now for insurance to cover it.

Medicare Part D is 'insurance after the fact.'

Who with current large drug bills would not sign up? And who in good health (except for the realistic expectation of dying eventually) would sign up?

The downside risk for those who don't sign up is that they'll have to pay for their own drugs, no different than now. They can bank the money they're not spending on insurance against the day that they need either the drugs, or Part D at increased rates (1%/mo penalty for not signing up.) Canadian and Israel pharmacies are still just an internet click away. If US drug buyers are getting theirs at their local pharmacy under Part D, internet pricing will be even cheaper in the future than it is today.

The system is readily gameable from both the consumer and supplier side. All consumers need do now is sign up for the cheapest plan ($7/month is the lowest I've heard), then switch to another plan later, a plan that offers the expensive drugs you'll then need. From the suppy side, form an insurance company and offer insurance for $1/month, covering only the equivalent of asprin. Millions of consumers will sign up, gaming the system from the their side in a cooperative effort to screw the Part D setup.