Thursday, January 19, 2006

mmmm, donuts. . . .

Michael Hiltzik has started a great series on the disastrous repercussions of Bush’s Medicare drug scheme as evidenced in California.

The Medicare drug benefit is shaping up as the single most cynical scam perpetrated by the Bush Administration on American consumers. Designed to maximize profits for drugmakers and health insurers, the program was launched so ineptly Jan. 1 that hundreds of thousands of patients have been prevented by computer glitches from filling their prescriptions. California and 25 other states have had to step in temporarily to pay for improperly rejected prescription claims.

California has had to fill 34,000 prescriptions in just the last week, and the feds, now looking at a $700 billion price tag for privatization (a 75% overrun), have made it clear that no state will be getting reimbursed for its “good will.”

As one doctor interviewed for the piece sums it up, “As a patient, you are totally hoodwinked by this system. It's not just an economic tragedy; it's a moral tragedy.”

And this tragedy will compound as each senior’s annual drug costs top $2,251 and the “donut hole” kicks in.

Of course, as I discuss on capitoilette, this is buck-passing as usual for the Bush administration. But maybe, just maybe, this bitter donut will taste a little sweeter come November.


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