First, theWaPo

…a man who suffers from bipolar disorder, had come from his pharmacy frustrated to the point of meltdown. There were snags in his new Medicare drug plan. Of his four medicines, it would fill only two.”I’m not going to take any of them anymore,” he yelled…

 Then he flushed all of his rx’s down the toilet.

According to  Craig Knoll, the executive director of Threshold Services in Silver Spring,

“I’m saying it’s the federal government’s fault he couldn’t get his meds. It’s not surprising that people with mental illness respond in ways that people with mental illness respond.”

Since Jan. 1, it is estimated that 2 million mentally ill Americans covered because they receive both Medicare and Medicaid have gone without the drugs that keep their delusions, paranoia, anxieties or stress in check. Many, if not all run a high risk of relapse, as numerous people have been hospitalized.
Bush proposed cutting the cost of Medicare spending by $36 billion over five years, despite the cost of Medicare D.

And, it appears that he may be FINALLY learning that a $36 billion cut won’t be enough to please fiscal conservatives and would be too much for liberals.
According to Nancy Pelosi,

“The Bush budget reduces the quality of Medicare services for our seniors.”

According to Democratic strategist Jenny Backus

“I don’t think he can make an asset out of being in the middle anymore.”

According to a Gallup poll, 58% of Americans were dissatisfied with Medicare D, and 35% were satisfied.  The Washington Post and ABC News discovered that 38% of Americans approved of Medicare D, down from 46% and those disapproving rose to 51% from 35%.  Basically, Bush has lost support on Medicare D from a voting bloc (senior citizens) who he thought would benefit by it.

Also, many conservatives are bitter that the Bush White House concealed the program’s true costs from Congress while promising that it wouldn’t exceed $400 billion and forcing Congress to vote on it.  According to the Heritage Foundation it

will be difficult to defend, particularly in the conservative-dominated primaries that will pick the 2008 Republican presidential nominee.

Medicare D cost’s are now estimated to be $724 billion over 10 years, and maybe $2 trillion over the following decade.

Specifics about the budget:

Bush wants to cut $65 billion in savings over the next five years from Medicare D.  The cuts would consists of smaller inflation adjustments for hospitals, nursing homes, home health care providers and hospices. Higher-income seniors would see increased premiums.

According to  Dick Davidson, president of the American Hospital Association,

“Hospitals already are stretching scarce resources to respond to the daily challenges of providing care to all who come through our doors…Cuts to these resources will have a negative impact on the availability of care for the patients and communities we serve.”

Also, affluent veterans are again requested to make higher co-payments for prescription drugs and pay a new $250 fee for their medical care.

On health savings accounts:

The theme of “personal resposibility” is again being pushed by Bush, as he is advocating tax cuts for health savings accounts.  In short, people would be responsible for purchasing a high-deductible insurance policy that requires payment of at least $1,050 in medical expenses; families would have to pay the first $2,100. Some policies carry even higher deductibles, however, insurance would kick in after the deductible is met.

The logic behind this, according to Roy Rathmun, health care adisor is that

people will become more responsible shoppers because they’ll pay more of the initial costs of their health care. They’ll look harder to find a generic drug rather than a brand-name, or they’ll think twice about seeing a doctor if they’re not that sick.

Rathmun further states,

“We know Americans spend their money differently than they spend somebody else’s money.”

Mark McClellan states

“If we take incremental steps now, steady steps now, we can make the program sustainable without having to go to drastic changes in taxes or drastic changes to benefits.”

Survival of the fittest?