Geezer Gas

I feel the Senior Citizens, of which I am one, need a place to express their thoughts and goals. We need to be heard, and our voices will speak from this corner.

Location: Sious Falls, South Dakota

I am an avid fisherman which is an addiction I inherited from my Dad. I teach classes in custom fishing rod building. I started fooling with computers when few companies had a computer, and even fewer individuals had a PC. Today I teach computer classes for fellow seniors at our local senior center. I am married to a Master Gardener, so I spend a lot of time digging beds for her plants. I spend a lot of time admiring the achievements of my three sons and their offsprings. Most of all my wonderful soulmate keeps my life alive and exciting.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Part D, the Joke

I am always amazed at the people we elect to public office, in particular to Congress.  I believe these individuals enter politics with a host of lofty ideals they willingly express in their campaigns.  They want to do things differently.  They’ve had enough of the way our government is being run. Then, they win the election.  I think they go to Washington DC, and when they go through baggage check, they leave their brains.  That can be the only answer as to why these once normal, intelligent human beings desert all reasonable thought, and pass some of the legislation they do.

Come to think of it, perhaps someone is giving them cocktails that are made with St. Nicholas essence, causing them to suddenly want to give away everything they touch, including the entire financial future of our present teenagers.  No, it’s not that, I think they are just stupid.  

Prime example, Part D, a drug entitlement program given to all on Medicare, whether they need it or not. I believe that if you can pay for your medications, then pay for them.  If you can’t, then an assistance program is called for.  Simple?  Yes, that’s the way it should be.  But Congress thinks differently.  I assume they passed it so they can use it in their next campaign, “Look what I did for our seniors.”

Here are the flaws in this idiot piece of legislation.  They made Part D so complicated few can understand it.  But, that’s the norm for anything Congress does.  But let’s count off the mistakes.  

First, the overwhelming costs.  Congress was sold a bill of goods in order to get Part D passed.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported the cost of the program at 400 billion.  This report ignored the fact that the CMS head, Richard Foster, knew the cost would come closer to 534 billion.  Six weeks after Part D was enacted and put into lawn, the Congressional Budget Office was forced to report the estimated cost of Part D would come close to 557.7 billion. Hey, what’s another billion or two more when you’re after votes? Anyway, the ones that will pay for this largess are not even old enough to vote yet.  The reality of this lunacy is that Part D is it provides benefits to those that don’t need it, and does nothing whatsoever to improve health care.

Second, some ”Buddy Benefits.” You don’t have to look too deep in the list of political supporters to find our largest corporations.  These campaign donations always help to swing legislation their way.  So, Congress has found another way to support them in Medicare Part D.  Most of our major corporations have retirement programs. Many of these include some form of healthcare and assistance with drug costs. Under Part D, our government will reward these corporations with a 28%, tax free, cash rebate to help pay for the drugs the corporations were already under contract to pay for.  Isn’t that nice?  General Motors will get 4 billion a year in cash, tax free.  Verizon, 1.3 billion, BellSouth 572 million, Delphi, 500 million, American Airlines, 415 million, John Deere, 400 million and on down the line.

What about those corporations that have drug plans as a part of their benefits package?  An increasing number of those are dropping that benefit, and letting Part D take over.  The estimated aggregate profit increase in this move is at 8 billion per year.  That, too, is tax-free.

It is going to get worse.  Do you recall the recent stories about the huge profits the petroleum companies have scored recently? This Part D nonsense will produce profits to the pharmaceutical industry that will make the oil barons look like schoolyard bullies hustling lunch money.  

The drug manufacturers, and drug retailers can raise prices.  And why not, the government is now paying all or part of the retail price.  And that leads to a major problem.  This legislation prohibits the government from using its buying power to negotiate lower prices.  So, in the sort run, your prices for medications will shoot up.  In fact, price increases have been steadily rising every since the first hint of Part D was proposed.  And they won’t stop going up until Congress takes what is surely the next step, price controls. That’s what Canada did, and that’s why medications are cheaper north of the border.  But price controls are not the long-term answer either.

Price controls will surely dry up the supply of new drugs.  When pharmaceutical find their profits are largely restricted, monies for research will be diminished, and with that will go a lot of research for new drugs.  In the long run it will mean some people will die because price controls prevented the development of new drugs that could have saved them.

For all of these reason, I believe that Congress has passed the worst piece of legislation ever.  It will lead to higher taxes, price controls, and reduce the supply of life saving drugs.  I think it is noteworthy that AARP were the heaviest supporters of the bill.  And when it was passed, this king of do-gooders, started a new and intensive attach on President Bush’s Social Security reform.

I for one will be on line at  There I can check the voting record of every member of Congress.  I will seek out and encourage every one of the DC crowd that voted against Part D, to keep up the fight.  Someday, common sense might win out.  It certainly didn’t win with Medicare Part D, the great American Joke.



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6:49 PM  
Blogger Ed Kieff said...

"Someday, common sense might win out."

Are you sure about this John? Very well thought out. I hope I never need the services of the Federal government. I'll glady take my SS check if there is such a thing when I get there.

4:25 AM  

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