Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Medicare Prescription Drug Program Carries High Costs

The Washington Post looks at one of the problems of the Medicare prescription drug program: “The new Medicare drug benefit fails to deliver drug prices as low as those found at the Department of Veterans Affairs, in Canada and at high-volume U.S. pharmacies, a congressional report said yesterday.”

“The prices offered by the Medicare drug plans are higher than all four benchmarks, in some cases significantly so,” the report concluded. “This increases costs to seniors and federal taxpayers and makes it doubtful that the complicated design of Medicare Part D provides any tangible benefit to anyone but drug manufacturers and insurers.”

While I agree that the plan was written as a form of corporate welfare for the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, this opinion that it does not provide any benefits to anyone goes too far. While Medicare beneficiaries could have been offered a much better plan more economically, for many this is still an improvement over no coverage.

Unless someone on Medicare both has private coverage and received documentation that the plan qualifies as a credible plan under the current law, most Medicare beneficiaries would benefit from signing up. Just keep in mind when doing so that the Republicans may be giving a program with some benefits, but you could have received so much more if not for the manner in which the program was devised to help the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.


Anonymous Blue Cross of California said...

Medicare is a great form of health insurance for many individuals and there is no way it should be cut off as health coverage is a major importance to many.

11:29 AM  

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