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POLICY/POLITICS: Linking Katrina, Medicare Part D and bird Flu

Here’s my FierceHealthcare editorial today:

FierceHealthcare has been following two stories all year that both had big moments this week. One is the avian flu that’s been popping up in Asia and may end up being as deadly as the 1918 epidemic. The other is the new Medicare Part D roll-out. For Medicare Part D, the complex mix of plans being offered to seniors will test their ability to understand the options on hand — anyone who’s bought insurance in the individual market knows that’s not easy — and will also challenge the Federal government’s ability to run and police a complex program with many different private and public agencies taking part. Given the nation’s recent experience with a similar challenge on the Gulf Coast, we can be forgiven for looking at the Medicare roll-out as the next great test of government, and hope that it shows improvement. Especially if we have a real crisis in the near future if avian flu becomes the pandemic we all fear.

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Sunie
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Sunie

Uhh. I meant “plain”. And I was talking about incompetence……embarrassing.

Sunie
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Sunie

It could be just plane incompetence or on the other hand If current administration wants to” privatize” (dismantle) social security this is a good way to start doing it.

ethan
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ethan

Medicare part D is intended to be confusing. This insurance coverage will pay for a percentage of some, but not all, of the medication expenses for that recipient. In order to obtain this unclear benefit, the recipient must figure out which plan will be the most beneficial, and select that plan. This assumes that a person of medicare age is able to gather all of the medicines that they take, understand the price of each, and then select the plan that covers the majority of the medicines that they take. This decision process reminds me more of high school calculus… Read more »

Lynn
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Lynn

Matthew, I spent a long time last night reviewing the Medicare Handbook for 2006/Part D. I have a college degree but am confuseled and befuddled. This Plan holds out the threat that if one doesn’t join now they will forevermore be penallized up to 6%. The govt. is also telling people now they cannot join another health insurance plan?? For me – if I capitulate and join a Part D – I’ll be losing money big time! Question: Why can’t the pharmas lower their prices to the public? Why do we have to have such an expensive, confusing, inept, program… Read more »