From the WaPo:
A $400 million campaign by the Bush administration to enroll low-income seniors in prescription drug coverage that would cost them just a few dollars per prescription has signed up 1.4 million people, a fraction of the 8 million eligible for the new coverage.
It appears that the government will spend approximately $250 for each person. Using that figure, it appears that only 1.4 million may choose a Medicare D(isaster) plan.
Again, the number of people who have actually signed up for a Medicare D(isaster) is subject to question, due to the following statements by
Senator Debbie Stabenow:
The enrollment numbers for the new Medicare prescription drug program are inflated and misleading…This is just one more indication that the drug benefit is not working as it was intended or as it is being portrayed.”
And Congressman Sander Levin:
“They’ve tried to downplay the problem of so many people not enrolling and so many people who have had gargantuan problems.”
Pevously, it has been claimed that Washington
is…boosting payments for high-cost patients, protecting insurers against big losses…[and] assigning poor seniors to low-cost plans such as Humana’s, the feds are eliminating insurers’ marketing costs.
But, not one word of the government subusides provided to employers who offer coverage to retirees. Robert Herskovitz, spokesman for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, stated:
“A government subsidy to a private employer health plan may make the difference between that employer still being able to serve their members or not.”
And, which companies receive the subsidies? What is the amount?
And, there are still more federal dollars spent on marketing Medicare D(isaster):
This month the federal government placed a Valentine-themed ad in People magazine that shows a smiling young woman being hugged by a grateful-looking elderly woman.
An attached card for readers to send to their parents listed “5 ways to say I love you.” Among them: “I love you,” “I love you like kids love cookies,” and “Let’s talk about Medicare prescription drug coverage.”
The cost of this ad was $325,000.00. Apparently, this is a ploy used to entice senior citizens to turn to their adult children for assistance w/the use of the internet, as a means of enrolling in a Medicare D(saster) plan.
Now, after examining the above figures:
- $400 million spent on the sales pitch to convince people that Medicare D(isaster) is the next best thing to sliced bread;
- $325,000 spent on the ad with the Valentine;
- the subsidies that are given to certain employers, the question that has not been adequately ased nor answered;
- the costs involved in upgrading the computer systems so that Medicare D(isaster) could work to assist people with rx costs;
the following question needs to be answered: How much is Medicare D(isaster) really costing the taxpayers?