Medicare Y2K postscript
For people on medicaition struggling to get by access to their prescriptions did just get tougher as a result of the Bush Medicare Prescription Drug Plan that went into effect January 1st.
Before the New Year, municipalities like Baltimore were already taking safety measures, treating the rollover of drug coverage as a statewide medical emergency so they could provide medications to poor and elderly people lost in the new red tape. In "Y2K for Medicaid" I wrote about Baltimore's program to protect its most vulnerable from a plan designed to benefit Big Pharma over the needs of Americans.
And according to the New York Times, we were right to be concerned. From the article "States Intervene After Drug Plan Hits Snags"
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.
Texas reported a similar problem. Low-income beneficiaries are "being charged incorrect (high) co-payments," the state's Health and Human Services Commission said in an e-mail message to the Dallas office of the federal Medicare agency...
...Another low-income beneficiary, Terence J. Stevens, 65, of Lakeland, Fla., said he signed up for the drug plan on Nov. 15, the first day on which enrollment was allowed. His plan tried to charge him a $47 co-payment for a drug to treat irregular heartbeats and high blood pressure. Mr. Stevens said he was unable to pay and did not get the drug."
I'm sure we'll be hearing the administration claim that no-one could have predicted these snags.
You can help be a watchdog of the program by participating in the Medicare Rights Center's Medicare Part D monitoring project.