When Democrats attack, somehow it doesn’t convey the ferocity of the original series…but with Bush’s approval ratings going up as the price of gas comes down, the Democrats are issuing a Medicare drug report. Yup, they’ve noticed that there is both an election in November and that plenty of Part D participants are in the donut hole. And perhaps it’s about time to take the initiative back from the BS meme that “most people in Part D are happy so it must be a good thing/Republican votegetter, and the donut hole doesn’t really exist anyway.” The donut hole is the most obvious thing to go after, and the one that most seniors are concerned about, so here goes:
The analysis includes a breakdown by state showing how much more money residents would have to pay annually if they switched to a plan that had no doughnut hole. The nationwide average was $458. Residents of New Jersey would have to pay, on average, an additional $298. Residents of seven states would have to pay, on average, an additional $721. Those states are Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.”As this report shows, the opportunity to purchase plans that fill the hole is a mirage,” said Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif. “Beneficiaries are no more able to afford expensive, full-coverage plans than minimum wage Americans are able to afford a Mercedes.”
On the other hand, they don’t seem to mention getting effective drug re-importation, even though that is banned by the legislation and over 80% of adults are in favor of it. And somehow they’ve managed to get the AP guys confused by the White House spin:
Democrats contend that one solution to filling the doughnut hole would be to let the government negotiate drug prices on behalf of beneficiaries, instead of having fragmented insurance companies doing that. Then, the government could use the savings achieved to do away with the gap. But Nelligan replied that all of the Democratic proposals that have been scored by thehad cost projections at least twice as high as the cost of the current drug benefit.
Hmm… it’s hard to imagine something costing more per benefit delivered than the current version of the Medicare Modernization Act, especially when the payoffs to employers, insurers and hospitals are counted in. And wasn’t there something about a certain government agency that already negotiates rather better on drug pricing that the Part D private plans, and yet somehow that information didn’t make it into this article? Oh yeah, there was.