The Bush administration’s implementation of its new Medicare prescription drug benefit wasn’t quite a “seamless transition” as Medicare administrator Mark McClellan promised. The Miami Herald has called the implementation of the new program an “unmitigated disaster.”
Recall that Bush’s program was passed in 2003 under unusual circumstances that included bribes on the House floor. Before lawmakers agreed to the plan, the administration went to great lengths to deceive Congress about the cost estimates for the plan. Once it became law, and seniors started to learn about the new program, everyone was completely confused and couldn’t figure out what to do.
“Several hundred thousand” people enrolled in the new plans were unable to fill essential prescriptions and many states declared public health emergencies. Twenty states have stepped up to the plate to “help low-income people by paying drug claims that should have been paid by the federal Medicare program.”
But instead of mitigating the disaster, the Bush administration has launched a PR campaign:
President Bush’s top health advisers will fan out across the country this week to quell rising discontent with a new Medicare prescription drug benefit that has tens of thousands of elderly and disabled Americans, their pharmacists, and governors struggling to resolve myriad start-up problems.
More at firedoglake and Eschaton.[Credit here to Think Progress]