...don't even ignore 'em.
-- Samuel Goldwyn

Monday, January 16, 2006

From those wonderful folks who brought us the U.S. tax code.

...It's Medicare Part D. Another triumph for complexity as a deterrent to collecting benefits. If you doubt it, try working your way through the Medicare Web site's 137-click program to see how much you can save on your prescription drugs. And that's for those of us who can afford to get our drugs partially paid for by Medicare. What about those who aren't getting their drugs because the government's system isn't working yet? Undoubtedly the work of the same management style we're applying to the Gulf Coast rebuild.

Some states have stepped up to the real emergency this snafu has caused to help those who can't afford the drugs their lives depend on. Meanwhile, Medicare chooses to spin the number of folks who've signed up for Part D--when only 2% of those eligible has done so--read it in Newsday.

There is some help, at this medical student's well-designed site--a tutorial on how to get through the Medicare tangle and figure out if the system can help you. Of course, Medicare D is presented to us as a do-it-or-else proposition, whether it helps or now, with built-in future penalties for signing up after the deadline.

The Republican grand plan for shrinking government apparently starts with rendering it incompetent. So far, so good. I know, I'm kvetching. But, only the insurance and drug companies are getting benefits. Write your Congressperson and Senator. You get the government you demand...or, if you do nothing, the government you deserve.

Update: President Bush tells the insurance companies they must cover 30 days of drugs for poor seniors--from NYTimes.com.

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