Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Bush Urges Foxes to Do a Better Job Guarding Chickens
After having the pharmaceutical industry write their dream "Medicare Drug Coverage" plan, and tricking the Republican Congress into enacting Big Pharma's dream, W is shocked, SHOCKED to discover it isn't working well:|
President Tells Insurers to Aid Ailing Medicare Drug PlanWow, a Republican plan that enriches large corporations while harming the poor - whoever would have guessed?
By ROBERT PEAR
With tens of thousands of people unable to get medicines promised by Medicare, the Bush administration has told insurers that they must provide a 30-day supply of any drug that a beneficiary was previously taking, and it said that poor people must not be charged more than $5 for a covered drug.
The actions came after several states declared public health emergencies, and many states announced that they would step in to pay for prescriptions that should have been covered by the federal Medicare program.
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.
The Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said the mismanagement of the program had had "devastating consequences for seniors." In a letter signed by 34 other Democrats, Mr. Reid said, "We want to know why so many of our constituents have fallen through the cracks." Democrats had predicted many of the problems, he said.
The concern was bipartisan. Senator Judd Gregg, Republican of New Hampshire, said many people had been "turned away at their pharmacies or told that they must purchase the drugs up front and seek reimbursement later."
"These are very vulnerable people who do not have the means to pay for their prescriptions and who cannot go without their medications," Mr. Gregg said.
(Source: New York Times Jan. 16, 2006)