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    Friday, January 06, 2006

    How Not To: The Medicare hierarchy thinks they've done a good job with Medicare Part D:

    'If Congress had listened to the independent experts about what the benefit would cost and how to design it, we'd have people a lot less happy,' says Mark McClellan, who oversees Medicare. 'The drug benefit is going to cost a lot less' -- about 15% less than projected -- 'and people are going to get coverage a lot more like they want, because they have choice.'

    But the Medicare people disagree:

    A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds 40% of Americans 65 and over have an unfavorable opinion of the benefit and 23% a favorable one, with a sizable 37% undecided. Three-quarters deemed the plan 'too complicated and confusing.'

    And, the government says that of the roughly 17 million Americans for whom the stand-alone drug insurance makes sense, only about one million have signed up. (Another 20 million, many of whom already had drug insurance, will get government-subsidized coverage through employers, health-maintenance organizations or programs for the poor.)

    This market-friendly expansion of Medicare doesn't seem to be paying political dividends or attracting much consumer interest so far. 'This is a test case,' says Jonathan Oberlander, a University of North Carolina political scientist. 'It's a theory in search of population, and they've found the wrong population. A lot of what you're seeing is what happens when you try to turn seniors and people with disabilities into computer-linked consumers. It's insanity.'

    Exactly. As the article points out, there is such a thing as too much choice, and it offers this advice for Congress and bureaucrats:

    ......the relevant lessons are: (1) When options are overwhelming, people are likely not to choose; (2) When everyone in the society, not just one segment, is offered a choice, and there is a lot of media attention and advice, more will choose; and (3) The government must devise a sound option for people who can't make up their minds. To which I'd add (4) Don't make the choice look even more complicated than it truly is.

    posted by Sydney on 1/06/2006 08:44:00 AM 2 comments


    It's already a disaster.In Vt ,we have 44 different insurers,each with a different formulary.There will be 9 different medicaid formularies.Almost None are accessible by phone, and most have no or nonfunctioning web sites. It is impossible to get any info,forms,etc.Patients are lining up in pharmacies,unable to get critically important cardiac,asthma,diabetes meds,etc.
    Any high school graduate could have designed a better system. I,m sure that all the premium bills will go out on time. Isn't it fraud when you bill for a service you cannot provide?
    In my area both the govenors of Maine and Vermont,and probably soon NH,have agreed to cover seniors prescriptions until he system is working. What do you think the chances are they will be able to recover anything from the insurace industry?
    Unfortunately there are people who really believe this was to benefit seniors.When you follow the money its clear that this boondoggle was primarily a way to move tax dollars from medicare into private insures accounts.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:41 PM  

    Confusing is not the word for it. Way too many choices on a complicated subject.

    I'm a genius, well educated, exceptionally strong English skills, and own a very successful business. And I have not a clue to deciphering the choices for the best plan. Toss a dart, I guess.

    By Anonymous Bruce Small, at 8:49 PM  

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