Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.    The Honorable Governor of Texas, George W. Bush

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

In the Bush League, Everyone Bats .000

The Medicare drug plan is off to a fantastic start. Here's some news from The in California:

SACRAMENTO - As the fiasco surrounding the federal government's new Medicare Part D drug program widens, California stands ready to spend $150 million to make sure needy seniors and the disabled get the medicine they need.

A bill is expected to fly through the Legislature this week to ensure that people such as Stockton's Bobbie Cossey get their medicine.The trick will be to get the feds to repay the state.

Cossey, 87, needs medicine for her heart problems. She is one of 16,637 "dual eligibles" in San Joaquin County - people receiving benefits from both Medicare for the elderly and disabled, and Medi-Cal, California's version of the federal Medicaid program for the nation's poorest residents.

It is this group, 6 million nationwide and about 1 million in California, who were removed from Medi-Cal drug coverage and automatically enrolled into Medicare's new prescription drug plan as of Jan. 1.

But upwards of 200,000 Californians have been unable to get their medicine without lengthy delays or being forced to pay exorbitant rates, because the computer system and phone lines supporting the plan have crashed.

Every day, thousands of calls pour in to state and local agencies reporting problems with the system. Many of them involve poor people who need medicine to survive and who have been told they need to make a $250 co-payment to get medicine that was free two weeks ago.

It's truly a national disgrace," said Assembly Speaker Fabian Nûñez, D-Los Angeles. "There's no question the Bush administration has faltered and failed to deliver."

It's no surprise to so many of us that this administration is too hopelessly inept to pull off such a program. The professionals in government will have to pick up the shards of this fragile free market dreamwork and patch it together, sadly not until the rethuglicans have killed off a couple thousand old people first.

But listen to this response from a druggist in Tennessee.

It's been a nightmare only the government could have come up with," Cohen said. "Any pharmacy serving an older population is tearing their hair out.

This will be the response of the pliant majority. In their Fox News oblivion they will blame not the consortium of right wing pols and pharmaceutical barons who have shoved this down our elders' throats (16 Democrats voted for this albatross), but BIG Guvament and the "nanny" state for trying to accomplish what high flying, fast living drug czars can do better. And here's their hero on the subject:


I don't really understand. How is the new plan going to fix the problem?


Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculated, for example, is on the table. Whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to that has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, supposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.

How can you go wrong with leadership like that?


At 10:08 PM, Blogger Bullock said...

Bush talks like no other politician I've ever heard. His handlers can't help him anymore, he is so out there.
Wonder if he is in line for some senior care, even tho he's not 62 or 65 yet, whenever that kicks in.
I know I don't watch the age, try not to think about it.
But,you know, old big sequiot, you are the big double-nickel now. Watch for those AARP discounts.Happy Birthday.


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