The Bush administration’s implementation of its new Medicare prescription drug benefit wasn’t quite a “seamless transition” as Medicare administrator Mark McClellan promised. The Miami Herald has called the implementation of the new program an “unmitigated disaster.”
But instead of mitigating the disaster, the Bush administration has launched a PR campaign:
President Bush’s top health advisers will fan out across the country this week to quell rising discontent with a new Medicare prescription drug benefit that has tens of thousands of elderly and disabled Americans, their pharmacists, and governors struggling to resolve myriad start-up problems.
“Several hundred thousand” people enrolled in the new plans were unable to fill essential prescriptions and many states declared public health emergencies. Twenty states have stepped up to the plate to “help low-income people by paying drug claims that should have been paid by the federal Medicare program.”
McClellan, who has found plenty of cash for his propaganda campaigns, now refuses to reimburse these 20 states that picked up the administration’s slack:
People are in Medicare drug plans, and it’s the Medicare plans that are supposed to pay for the medications.