Kevin Freking's Part D Denial Disorder

  • by: |
  • 09/30/2006
Is is my imagination or is the AP Kevin Freking the only journalist in America who refuses to accept that Medicare Part D is a resounding success. See his most recent article entitle Seniors to Get More Medicare Drug Choices. Freking stands alone -- actually with the only person in Washington who can't say anything good about the Part D benefit, Families USA Godfather Ron Pollack -- in asserting that the rollout of more Medicare Part D plans with lower premiums, fewer restrictions, more drug choices and better tools for managing costs is a terrible thing because it's confusing:

"Seniors who complained this year about a dizzying array of choices for a Medicare drug plan may find themselves even dizzier when they shop around for next year.

Federal officials announced Friday that 17 companies have been approved to provide Medicare drug coverage nationally. This year, there were nine."

Actually, since 90 percent of all seniors signed up for the program and a small percentage who hit the donut hole really had a problem after doing so, Freking had to scrape around for a quote from -- who else -- the Don of Part D Doom himself, Ron Pollack to underscore just how crappy the program really is:

"The incredible confusion that persisted throughout this year is about to get considerably worse," said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, an advocacy group. "This is because there will be quite a few more plans to choose from, they will all be different from each other, and seniors will have a much shorter time period to make decisions about enrollment."

Similarly, Freking reaches down to another well paid malcontent, Deanne Beebe," a spokeswoman for the Medicare Rights Center, said that seniors won't be won over by all the additional options.

"They don't want dozens of choices," she said. "They want one affordable drug benefit they can count on when it comes time to fill their prescription."

Yes, Ron annd Deanne compared to the one size fits all system where seniors would wait five years to get many of the newest medicines while the government negotiates prices and restricts access there will be quite a few more plans to choose from. As for seniors not wanting dozens of choices, I propose that Beebe rollout a the VA style approach and try to sell it with the longer waits for drug approvals, fewer drug choices and in some cases, higher out of pocket costs..

The triumph of ideology over compassion and common sense.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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