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.