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November 13, 2005

Discrediting Market-Based Policy

There are days I think Bush is a Communist mole sent to create a caricature of conservative policy and discredit it. Use faulty intelligence to start a war in Iraq that has discredited neoconservative interventionist policy. Propose an attack on social security, the most popular policy program of liberalism.

And create a "market-based" Medicare prescription drug plan so complicated that the very concept of privatization itself is discredited:

Enrollment in the new Medicare drug benefit begins in three days, but even with President Bush hailing the plan on Saturday as "the greatest advance in health care for seniors" in 40 years, large numbers of older Americans appear to be overwhelmed and confused by the choices they will have to make.

"I have a Ph.D., and it's too complicated to suit me," said William Q. Beard, 73, a retired chemist in Wichita, Kan...

Brian D. Caswell, a former president of the Kansas Pharmacists Association, said he spent two to three hours a day explaining the Medicare drug benefit to customers at his store in rural Baxter Springs. He encouraged them to take a look at the new program. But Mr. Caswell said: "The program is so poorly designed and is creating so much confusion that it's having a negative effect on most beneficiaries. It's making people cynical about the whole process - the new program, the government's help."...

Bush administration officials said Medicare drug plans were offering more benefits at lower cost than had been expected. But that does not mean that a person's local pharmacy will be in every plan. "In some rural areas," Ms. Lenker reported, "beneficiaries say: 'There are 40 Medicare drug plans to choose from, but my pharmacy takes only one or two plans. How does that give me choice?' "

Confusion Is Rife About Drug Plan as Sign-Up Nears - New York TimesFixing this plan is almost a gimme issue for progressives-- simplifying the plan to guarantee broad coverage for all recipients and cutting out the corporate subsidies to pay for that guaranteed broader coverage.

And by doing so, the lesson to the American population will be that the whole rhetoric of privatization is a lie. Older people are now contrasting the simple and comprehensive system of traditional Medicare with a privatized prescription drug plan-- and privatization is losing out in the comparison. Thank you George!

Posted by Nathan at November 13, 2005 09:37 AM