We have come to the end of the first week under Bush's medicare drug plan. I'm sure you remember this plan, it's the one that DeLay strong-armed through the house. It's also the same plan that allows the pharmaceuticals to charge the higest prices to seniors, negotiations for lower prices will not and cannot take place. It is the Bush administrations way of killing off the eldery. And what has happened this first week hopefully will change very quickly.
Low-income Medicare beneficiaries around the country were often overcharged, and some were turned away from pharmacies without getting their medications, in the first week of Medicare's new drug benefit. The problems have prompted emergency action by some states to protect their citizens.
Although there are no hard numbers, concerns expressed by state officials and complaints from pharmacists suggest a widespread pattern of problems.
From Maine to California, and North Dakota to Alabama, elderly folks were denied their meds or, more often, it seems, were overcharged to the point they could not pay for their NEEDED meds.
Jeezey wheezey. The first week was so freakin' bad that:
On Thursday, the Vermont Legislature passed a bill declaring, "There is a public health emergency due to the federal implementation of Medicare Part D, which has resulted in serious operational problems, causing Vermonters to be turned away at the pharmacy without the drugs they need."
So, medicare tells insurers to "fix the problem" after getting slammed (or so I would imagine) by complaints. But, true to form in this crony-driven administration, Mark McClellen (brother of Scotty) puts on the thick rose-colored glasses, and twists this devestating beginning to make it sound hunky-dory. It's no wonder governors and state legislatures weren't happy.
Under Medicare rules, each drug plan is supposed to have a transition policy, providing a temporary supply - typically 30 days - of any prescription that a person was previously taking. But customer service representatives at Medicare's toll-free telephone number said they knew nothing of this requirement, and beneficiaries said it had been virtually impossible to take advantage of it.
Nationwide, 6.2 million low-income people receive both Medicare and Medicaid. About 1.1 million of them live in California. They tend to have many chronic illnesses and high drug costs. Cheryl Meronk, manager of the health insurance counseling program in Orange County, Calif., said she was referring people to hospital emergency rooms because they had been unable to get urgently needed medications through Medicare.
Another unconscionable act perpetrated by the uncompassionate GOP in response to the greed of pharmaceuticals and to the detriment of our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. Imagine, going to the pharmacy knowing you aren't supposed to pay more than a $5 per script, and being charged $23, for necessary meds like insulin. That is outrageous!
But Carol A. Herrmann-Steckel, commissioner of the Alabama Medicaid Agency, said that Medicare beneficiaries with very low incomes had often been required to pay the full $250 deductible and co-payments far exceeding $5. "One beneficiary borrowed the money," she said. "Another charged the $250 on a credit card because she was in such dire need of the medicine."[...]
In Oregon, Sandy K. Hata, a field manager for the State Department of Human Services, said: "We've had calls from people in tears who could not get their medications. These people were being asked to pay a $250 deductible and hundreds of dollars in co-payments."
Jane-ellen A. Weidanz, the Medicare project manager at the Oregon Department of Human Services, said, the $250 deductible "is hitting people very hard," adding: "People are very angry and very upset. They are yelling at us. They feel that we lied to them. They feel Medicare lied to them. They feel they cannot trust anything we say about this program."
I'd say that last bit I bolded about sums up the program. Can you blame the elderly for feeling used and abused by our government?
ed. Upon further thought, I decided to change the title of this post. There was a lot of confusion of the "new" medicare drug program for the elderly. In my mind, when the same people cannot get their meds, they are, being abused.