Republicans Find They Have to Sell Drug Benefit Plan

Initially I was rather aghast at the Republicans on this: it appeared that they were simply trying to follow a time-honored Democratic tradition and buy some senior votes. Now I'm not so sure ...

My mom, age 82, is on Medicare, of course. She also spends upwards of $400/mo. (out of a fixed income of about $1600/mo.) on prescription drugs. She tried to figure this new thing out, and failed - and my mom's a pretty sharp gal. I tried, and couldn't make heads or tails of it. So she signed up for one of the counseling sessions offered by the local senior citizens organization, and when all was said and done, the best fit program for her would save her $24 a year.

You read right: that's $24 every year, or $2 per month, with the added hassle of filling out forms, paying deductibles and filing claims.

The best case Mom could find from her apartment complex was a gal that saved about $30 a month. Most of the complexity has to do with the various drugs being dispensed, the other supplemental insurance that the patient may already have and a lot of other seemingly random factors (widowed or divorced? what does that have to do with drug coverage?).

I'm not sure that the party in power realized exactly how such a huge new program would actually be implemented: the devil's in the details, after all. And private insurance companies are on a level with government itself when it comes to creating bureaucratic complexity.

Mom decided not to bother signing up. And she votes, generally Republican, as she's pretty much socially conservative. But now ... well, as she phrased it "Those people [Congresscritters] are idiots! We need to clean house up there [in Washington]." If the Republicans were in fact trying to buy senior votes, I think they just sold one instead.

Congressional Republicans are trying to ease apprehension about a program that strikes many retirees as dauntingly complex.

(link) [NYT > Home Page]

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