Rx Drug Plan and Florida Seniors

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Spend money to buy votes? I don't know, what do you think?



Quote:

"If you take what is happening with Medicare and add it to the credibility problems about the war, you've got this larger issue about the administration and truth-telling. No doubt that's a political problem," said Jonathan Oberlander, associate professor of social medicine at the University of North Carolina and the author of "The Political Life of Medicare."



"This has not gone according to script. This drug bill was going to secure Florida for Republicans (in the election), and maybe give them a big bounce. And it is not going according to plan. The more senior citizens learn about it, the less they like the bill."



Controversial from the start, the bill that narrowly passed the House last November after hours of arm-twisting left bitter feelings on Capitol Hill and an uneasy reaction among senior citizens.



It establishes a voluntary benefit under Medicare that primarily helps the poor and those burdened by especially high drug expenses. But many recipients would spend more on premiums and co-payments than they receive in benefits. And the projected costs to the government have grown enormously - by an extra $134 billion over 10 years - before any benefits have been paid.



The government's public service advertisements introducing the drug plan try to reassure Medicare patients that they stand to gain much while losing nothing. Yet these ads, too, became controversial when critics charged that the $22 million campaign offers no real information, fails to tell the whole truth about the drug benefits, and serves more to promote the program than to explain it.



"The commercials themselves seem to have more propaganda value than information value for seniors," said Pete Sepp, vice president for communications at the National Taxpayers Union, a conservative advocacy group that urged the administration to pull the ads. "The ultimate irony here is that the taxpayers are paying millions of dollars on ads that promote a program that will cost them billions or trillions down the road."



Great... Spending 22 million to "inform" the public of this Rx drug plan? Wonderful... Sure 22 million is not a lot but that is not the point.



Quote:

"I ultimately decided to resign in protest, but my staff talked me out of it," Richard S. Foster, the actuary, told the committee.



Foster said he was convinced that his former boss, Thomas A. Scully, decided not to disclose the higher estimates for political purposes while Congress was considering the drug legislation. Scully, the former head of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, helped persuade Congress to pass the bill and then left the administration to become a highly paid lobbyist on health issues.



Here is a nice little bit of info:



Quote:

The administration acknowledged in January that the new law would cost a projected $534 billion rather than the $395 billion that the Congressional Budget Office and the White House had estimated just a few weeks earlier.



The fiscal picture turned still gloomier when federal trustees reported last week that Medicare, partly because of the new drug program, would run out of money on its present course by 2019, seven years earlier than expected.



It will "only" cost $534 billion (gee can we spend some more to "buy" votes from seniors?) Why not a few trillion while we're at it. Future generations can pay the bill no???



Not to mention Medicare will run out of money 7 years sooner in 2019.... Lovely I suppose we will just leave that for a future admin. to work out



So, Is this 22 million campaign to "sell" this going over well with seniors?



Quote:

"When I go to condo meetings in my district, I ask people if they have seen the commercials," said Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla. "In each of the meetings, 95 percent raise their hands, which indicates they (HHS officials) have completely swamped South Florida with their advertisements.



"It's in direct relationship to the importance of Florida to President Bush. The idea that taxpayer dollars would be used to run a commercial for the president is plainly wrong," he said.



"For some, it will mislead them. Unfortunately, most seniors will learn they are not eligible for any meaningful benefit. For others who are informed and well read, it will further inflame their anger."



Public surveys indicate that most people are confused by the new law and remain wary or strongly opposed.



More than half, 55 percent, of senior citizens surveyed last month by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation said they had an unfavorable impression of the drug program, 17 percent had a favorable impression and 28 percent had no impression.



"No question, the big shock to the president was that this legislation was supposed to be a win, particularly among older voters, but the combination of things has led to negativity," said Robert Blandon, professor of health policy and political analysis at Harvard University.



This is an outrage in my humble opinion. Bush is the biggest spending "republican" I have seen in some time.



Why? including this 22 million "HHS" bid to "explain" the Rx drug plan? I believe it is a sad attempt to buy votes from the high percentage of seniors living in florida let alone other states in the union.



Your thoughts?



Source of quoted material above



Fellows

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 3
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,454member
    Sounds like pretty much the history of every other federal program in existance. They are all vote buying, be they Republican or Democratic in my book. They should all go, but my libertarian leanings on these matters are far from mainstream. I mean if you check the projections for Social Security, Medicare, etc... they are all approximately 10 times the original projected cost. They don't provide enough benefit for the cost. Everyone ends up spending more, etc.



    Welcome to a concise history of why government programs generally suck.



    Nick
  • Reply 2 of 3
    drewpropsdrewprops Posts: 2,321member
    PSAs are SO often a waste of our money! Reminds me of that Kevin Kline movie "Dave" where he decides to save a program for homeless children and sits down with his cabinet to pull money from other programs...including a big chunk of money that was scheduled to be used to make people feel good about their recent automobile purchase.



    I've seen the ads in question and they were very calming and soothing and had absolutely no information in them.



    It was a waste of money.



    I don't hate President Bush and his administration as so many here do, but this issue needs discussing.
  • Reply 3 of 3
    chinneychinney Posts: 1,019member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by trumptman

    Sounds like pretty much the history of every other federal program in existance. They are all vote buying, be they Republican or Democratic in my book. They should all go, but my libertarian leanings on these matters are far from mainstream. I mean if you check the projections for Social Security, Medicare, etc... they are all approximately 10 times the original projected cost. They don't provide enough benefit for the cost. Everyone ends up spending more, etc.



    Welcome to a concise history of why government programs generally suck.



    Nick




    Actually, as I have previously posted on a number of occasions, the reason that the new U.S. Medicare program 'sucks' is that it has been, effectively, contracted out to the private sector (i.e., private sector insurance companies).



    I am all in favour of the private sector in most areas, but it is not always better than the private sector in delivering services ? and sometimes it is much worse. As numerous Western countries demonstrate, public health care generally works better than private. While public health care has its share of problems, countries with public health care systems generally spend significantly less per capita on health care than does the U.S., and yet have better overall public health indicators. (I have posted statistics on this in previous threads.)



    On of the main reasons for this discrepancy ? as demonstrated by a study in the New England Journal of Medicine released last summer ? is that an alarming proportion of U.S. health dollars go into administration costs, rather than patient care.* The proportion is much higher than in countries where health care is predominantly delivered publicly. The difference is due to very high private sector insurance administration costs in the U.S.



    The saddest thing about the Bush Medicare reform in the U.S. is that is designed in a way that will exacerbate this problem: it is specifically designed so that a greater proportion of Medicare will be delivered through publicly-subsidized private insurance: i.e., public funds will be siphoned off by the private insurance companies. This is the reason that ? as many seniors are now realizing ? while a great deal of extra public money will be spent on the new Medicare, it will not necessarily provide better service, and it may in fact provide worse service. This was a reform designed by the insurance industry for the insurance industry ? an industry that is very cozy with the Administration and with many in Congress. So if you want to know where your tax dollars are going on Medicare, look there.











    (* An additional reason for the discrepancy is that under the U.S. system a disproportionate amount of the dollars that do go toward patient care are spent for high-cost, marginal-effectiveness procedures for those with much money to pay, rather than lower-cost high-effectiveness general health spending.)
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