The GAO found that Bush’s pilot Medicare program, in which beneficiaries enrolled in private health plans, cost you and I $650 to $750 a year more per beneficiary while illegally limiting coverage to certain services:
Federal investigators said Monday that the Bush administration had improperly allowed some private health plans to limit Medicare patients’ choice of health care providers, including doctors, nursing homes and home care agencies.
The investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, also said that the private plans had increased out-of-pocket costs for the elderly and had not saved money for the government, contrary to predictions by Medicare officials.
The accountability office, a nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, said the administration “exceeded its authority” by allowing P.P.O.’s to limit patients’ choices of providers offering skilled nursing and home health care, dental care and routine physical examinations.
In many cases, it said, the private plans covered such services only when beneficiaries used health care providers designated by the plans themselves. Beneficiaries who went outside the network of preferred providers were often “liable for the full cost of their care,” the report said.
“By law,” it said, “these plans should have been required to cover all services in their benefit packages even if those services were obtained from providers outside the plans’ provider networks.” But, it said, the administration waived this requirement for 29 of the 33 preferred provider plans, allowing them to deny coverage for some services obtained outside their networks.
The administration “did not have the authority to allow plans to restrict enrollees’ choice of providers” as it did, the report said.
Bush Medicare plan has been nothing but a rip-off from day one. He lied to congress and the American people to get it passed. Certainly this should help convince seniors to vote for John Kerry.