Wednesday, December 14, 2005

If you have any prescriptions to fill, you might want to get them filled by December 31, before Bush-induced chaos breaks loose in every drugstore in America:

Insurers reported government delays in handling applications for Medicare's new prescription drug benefit on Tuesday....

Because of the delays, insurance executives said, they have not been able to issue identification cards to some who want to enroll, and they cannot guarantee that cards will be sent to all people who sign up before Jan. 1, when the program begins.

Pharmacists said that some beneficiaries might have difficulty taking advantage of the new drug benefit if they showed up at pharmacies next month without identification cards...

Among the complaints:

Angela Feig, a spokeswoman for a consortium of Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans offering drug coverage in Iowa, North and South Dakota and four other Midwestern states, said they had received applications from 89,000 Medicare beneficiaries. But Ms. Feig said: "We have not sent out any identification cards. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has to conduct a verification process to confirm that applicants are eligible to enroll. We are working with the government to complete that process." ...

89,000 beneficiaries. No cards. Eleven working days before the deadline kicks in. And that's just one plan in seven states.

Oh, but not to worry: A Medicare spokesman says pharmacists can verify each cardless beneficiary individually via computer. Oh yeah, I bet that process will also go swimmingly.

Let me just remind you that Bush signed the Medicare bill two freaking years ago. The Bushies have had a while to figure out how to make this work.

If I were a GOP member of Congress, I might think twice about conducting any town meetings in my district in the first few weeks of January.

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