Incompetence Personified

From Holden:

What will Little Scottie say? His own brother went before the Senate Special Committee on Aging yesterday and admitted that the Bush Assministration fucked up their Medicare drug plan.

A top Bush administration official acknowledged Thursday that the Medicare prescription program was too complicated for many of its intended beneficiaries to understand and said simplifying it was a top priority.

“Simplification is absolutely the next step in this process, now that we’ve got the benefit in place,” Medicare Administrator Mark B. McClellan said during a Senate hearing on problems the program has had since its Jan. 1 introduction.


McClellan’s comments may be the first sign that the administration recognizes that the complex program may have to be retooled to succeed.


[Sen. Ron] Wyden told McClellan: “I think you have done great damage to the cause of private-sector choice in healthcare.”

Despite this admission the Senate voted yesterday along party lines to deny beneficiares an extension to the deadline for enrolling in one of the myriad plans.

The Senate defeated efforts Thursday to extend the deadline for enrolling in a Medicare prescription drug plan from May 15 until the end of the year.

And of course the real beneficiareis of Chimpy’s plan are the big drug companies.

A study by the Prudential Equity Group estimates that the Medicare drug benefit will give drug companies up to $2 billion in extra profits this year because they’re no longer required to pay rebates on drugs bought by the government for the elderly poor.

The boost in profits comes from a shift in the drug coverage of 6.4 million poor and elderly people from Medicaid to the new Medicare drug benefit, which relies on competition among private drug plans to keep prices low. By eliminating the need to discount drugs for the government, the industry can now pocket the savings.