sounds confusing as all get-out. Medicare will
pay 75% after $250 has been spent, up to $2,250.
After that, there's a "window" in the coverage
that extends all the way to $5,100. Patient pays
100%. Then Medicare kicks back in, paying 95%
of costs over $5,100. Until the end of the year.
Then you get to start over.
confusing, and it's meant to be. The Republican
designers of this monster wanted folks on Medicare
to be staring helplessly at their calculators,
wondering where to begin.
actually real simple: If you rack up $5,100 in
prescription costs in a calendar year, Medicare
will pay only $1,500 of that, leaving you to manage
the remaining $3,600. Come the new year, you start
with the same deductibles. Oh, and they want you
to pay $420 a year for the privilege, so each
year, on $5,100 worth of drugs, you shell out
a total of $4,020.
you only make about $40,000 a year or less, it
means you're screwed.
fact, you're screwed anyway. You see, they slipped
a couple of real nasty provisions in there.
the government agrees to end all efforts to regulate
the prices of prescription drugs. No price caps,
no regulation. And why not? After the first $5,100,
the taxpayer is footing the bill! The drug companies
will work hard to get you, the taxpayer, to cough
up handsomely for this wonderful gift the Putsch
junta has given them!
let's see: we have a new program that pays $1,500
on the first $5,100 in prescription drug costs.
That's really going to help the fixed-income folks,
isn't it? Costs About $425 a year, so in reality,
the oldsters shell out a hair over $4,000 for
drugs that cost $5,100 without any coverage at
"coverage" doesn't start until 2006, a point where
voters who aren't paying attention won't notice
what this entails until after the mid-term elections.
over the next six years, the deductibles go up
by 78%. With the result that by 2011, the 95%
coverage doesn't kick in until the $8,500 level,
with only about $2,250 of that covered by Medicare,
at an additional cost of $700 a year.
other words, once the drug companies get done
jacking their rates (and who's gonna stop them?),
you'll pay $700 a year for the privilege of paying
$7,250 for drugs that cost $5100 now. Whadda deal!
wait! There's more! As a part of the drug deal
Congress passed, efforts to regulate drug prices
are dropped, AND it remains illegal to get the
same drugs at a much lower price from Canada!
Which means the drug companies can continue to
strive to produce the best possible products at
the lowest possible price.
like they have for the past ten years.
we are ROYALLY screwed!
means millions of Americans not only get nothing
out of the deal, but they get shafted with a pickax
sideways, being forced to spend thousands for
nothing progressive about that scam, cupcakes!
American Association for Retired People, AARP,
the biggest public interest group in America,
actually supported this turkey. Only now, a week
after it's too late, have they realized that a
large majority of their membership (63%) feel
that the scam the administration sent through
an obliging, paid-for Congress screwed them, and
that the AARP betrayed them. Only now is AARP
backtracking in confusion and disarray from promises
to help promote and support the plan in meetings
with its membership.
poor really get it in the shorts. There are low-income
provisions, but get a load of them, as reported
by the pro-Putsch paper, Newsday: "Premiums, deductibles
and coverage gaps will be waived for people earning
less than $12,123 a year. To qualify for the subsidy,
seniors can have no more than $6,000 in assets,
other than a house. The subsidies will be phased
out between $12,123 and roughly $13,500 in yearly
people have at least $6,000 in furniture, car,
and clothing. And of course, if you make $13,500
a year (a princely sum indeed, you lucky ducky!)
and own a late-model Buick, you don't get any
of it. The same people who whine endlessly about
having to pay 20% taxes on an income of one million
a year have decided that making $13,500 means
you don't need any help.
might help. One little provision, which will cost
an estimated $70 billion a year, gives the employers
a dollar for dollar tax break on coverage provided
for retirees beginning in 2006. Only of course,
it isn't "dollar for dollar" -- the employers
get to include "overhead and expenses," with no
limits set on that.
has about 3% administrative overhead, and right
wingers like to whine about that. Now companies
will be allowed to charge as much as they feel
like for providing an inferior service. Lucky
$12 billion will be provided to insurance companies
willing to do the same thing that Medicare does
now at 3% overhead. The bill allocates $12 billion
a year for administrative overhead, which suggests
they expect it to be a bit more than 3%. Again
you, the taxpayer, are paying for this. Lucky
aliens don't have to worry about the decline in
health care quality brought about by the privatization
of coverage, at least. They don't qualify for
Medicare, even though they pay the same taxes,
and in many cases, have paid into the system for
cheer up. Health and Human Services has refused
to certify Canadian drugs for prescriptions, even
though they are the same goddamn drugs, made by
the same goddamn companies, to the same goddamn
standards. However, the administration has promised
to conduct a study into the matter.
taxpayer expense, of course.
Posted: December 17, 2003