Americans United is finalizing plans for an attack on Medicare D(isaster) in an attempt to “mobilize a popular insurrection,” agaist Republican supporters.
Last year, the group was influential in destroying the admistration’s chances of changes in Social Security legislation. A memo from the organization states
“We believe that we can fan the smoldering embers of discontent … into a firestorm of opposition.”
Serious questions have been raised with respect to the 2003 Congress that enacted Medicare D(isaster); the implementation of it, and emphasize that the party hopes to turn the new drug program against majority Republicans in the 2006 congressional elections.
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.
Americans United–a group that rose from the ashes of Americans United to Protect Social Security–is leading a coalition to reform Part D. In addition to participating in the AU coalition, the liberal advocacy group Campaign for America’s Future is teaming up with Moveon.org, the Public Campaign Action Fund and USAction to educate voters in key districts about the real costs of the Medicare boondoggle. Last week, several prominent groups–including the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Consumers Union, Families USA, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, U.S. PIRGS and USAction–met with Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin to begin plotting on how to best force action. On the House side, a unified Democratic Party is organizing more then 100 Medicare “town halls” in the upcoming weeks.
The emphasis will be on the problems that Medicare D(isaster) has inflicted on senior citizens and people with disabilities attempting to increase awareness of the pending legislative remedies. One being discussed is S. 345: Medicare Prescription Drug Savings and Choice Act of 2005. It appears that bill would allow for the negotiation of rx in order to obtain the best price, similar to the practice followed by the VA.
The second is The Medicare Guaranteed Prescription Drug Act, sponsored by Senators Edward Kennedy and Debbie Stabenow. That Medicare Guaranteed Presctiption Drug Act would substantially reform Medicare D(isaster) as it
- Gives every Medicare beneficiary the choice of receiving their drug benefit through traditional Medicare, with a formulary that is not allowed to change from day to day or state to state.
- Allows Medicare to negotiate the same good discounts on drug prices that the VA gets for veterans.
- Establishes a consistent nationwide premium for Medicare drug coverage.
- Reduces the annual deductible for drug coverage.
- Increases the share of seniors’ drug costs that Medicare will pay.
- Eliminates the so-called “doughnut hole” that will force seniors to bear the full costs of their drugs one a minimum is reached.
- Provides true security against runaway costs by assuming the full costs of drug purchases once a maximum out of pocket spending limit is reached.
With all of the emphasis on choice by this administration, it is necessary to realize that the choice of many have Medicare D was the choice to have no confusing changes forced down their throats. In essence, many would have preferred to have the ability to make the choice to stay in Medicare and have the cost of their rx’s be continued to be covered by the government, as they were covered by Medicaid in the past.
As stated by George W. Bush, in 2003
“Seniors happy with the current Medicare system should be able to keep their coverage just the way it is. And just like you, the Members of Congress, members of your staffs, and other federal employees, all seniors should have the choice of a health care plan that provides prescription drugs. My budget will commit an additional 400 billion dollars over the next decade to reform and strengthen Medicare-I urge the members of this new Congress to act this year.”
And, this country is witnessing the results of that!