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Posted on Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

Dave!At what point is something declared so hopelessly broken that you finally decide it's time to scrap it and start over from scratch? I mean, at what point do you just drag Old Yeller out to the barn and put a bullet in his head rather than have the rabid bastard f#@% up everybody's day? Sure you love the mutt, but something has to be done... the question then becomes "when do you do it?" How do you sense that moment, that very second of change where something goes from acceptable to bad? From bad to worse? From worse to hopeless? And shouldn't your goal be to stop the train before things actually become hopeless? Who wants a train wreck after all?

I am to the point where I see far too few redeeming qualities in the governmental machine of these United States of America. Our government has just gone from worse to hopeless. And before you go all "YEAH, BUSH SUCKS!" on me, I am not talking about President Bush... I am talking about the entire system.

The government exists to serve the people. Well, I feel served alright. SERVED A BIG STEAMING PILE OF STANKY ASS!

Governmental Ass

And it's all because I've been trying to help people with the new Medicare Drug Insurance Plan that went into effect yesterday.

Talk about your steaming pile.

As we age, our bodies break down. Our quality of life decreases. Things become harder. Life a little less pleasant... a little more painful. But thanks to pharmaceuticals, our quality of life can be made better beyond that point where our bodies start to decline. No need to nip off behind the barn and have a bullet put in your head just because you're old... drugs make it possible for you to live a good life to a ripe old age. Some drugs are even more critical, and allow you to go on living to a ripe old age.

But drugs are expensive. This means that only people with serious money (or really good insurance) are able to maintain their quality of life as aging starts to take over. Those without the means to pay hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars for drugs each month are faced with choices that must be made. Do I buy food so I can eat another day, or do I buy a pill so my heart can go on beating another day?

This is not exaggeration, this is a real-life scenario faced by an increasing number of elderly persons every day. And while some are able to stay healthier longer than others, there comes a point where most everyone has to form an intimate relationship with their medicine cabinet. And this means you.

Our government's solution is to supplement private insurance carriers in order to assist the elderly with their prescription drug costs. This is called Medicare-D, the drug insurance plan. All you have to do is find a plan that fits you best and, chances are, you can save some money on the drugs you take. Sounds simple right?

Except the entire process of choosing an insurance carrier is massively complicated. Here in Washington State, there are SEVENTY to choose from. And since you never know what the future holds, something that might work now, may be useless three months from now. It's a hopeless mess of a "solution" that should have never made it off the page.

Unless, of course, you are one of the insurance agencies... in which case, there is money to be made.

I am a genius... not a self-proclaimed genius... but an actual, certified, Mensa-level genius with an IQ of 142. I am adept with internet research. I am fearless when having to make calls or track down information. My massive intellect allows me to solve problems that mere mortals fail to grasp. And yet... trying to help people find out if there is a Medicare-D plan that can help them is a huge, huge, chore for me. It's MADE that way. Sure the Medicare.gov web site helps you narrow down the choices (when it is actually working) but there are other factors which makes a final choice difficult, and has me questioning my sanity.

Now imagine that you are 85 years old and your mind isn't what it used to be. You don't have a computer or an internet connection. You might not even know how to turn on a computer. Reams of complex documentation might as well be a brick wall you can never make your way over. You have nobody to turn to for help and, since scams that fleece the elderly are so common, you can't trust a stranger. Even if you wanted to ask for help, you don't know where to go. Stacks of Medicare pamphlets and insurance company brochures arrive every day, but they seem to be written in a language you can't comprehend. You have mounting prescription bills that consume all your income. Sure there might be a Medicare-D plan that can help you, but it is well beyond your capabilities to grasp. Afraid and alone, you have no choice but to take a pass on drug insurance you don't understand, and pray that your prescriptions don't get any more expensive. Your budget is already so strained that you are down to one meal a day, and even that is getting to be a luxury...

And guess what... THAT'S THE TARGET AUDIENCE THAT THIS PLAN IS MEANT TO HELP!!

WHAT THE F#@%?!? Seriously, WHAT THE FUCK?!?!!

THIS is the best our government can do for our elderly? This piece of shit "solution" is all we get?? A complicated plan to help people who may not even understand it? A system so totally f#@%ed that some plans can actually cost you MORE money than you're paying now? A helping hand that can totally bitch-slap you if your drug needs are radically changed and no longer fit in the plan you've chosen? This is it?

Well game over. If this crap is the best our government can come up with, it's time to take a bullet in the head and start over. Find a new government which doesn't pay politicians to fight with each other over inane party lines AND FIX THE SHIT LIKE THIS THAT NEEDS TO BE FIXED!!

What totally douches me here is that prescription drug assistance for the elderly is such a simple problem compared to all the other crap we've managed to get ourselves into. If the solution for a simple problem ends up being this bad... what does it say for the bigger cookie?


Categories: DaveLife 2005Click To It: Permalink
   

Comments

  1. Michele says:

    I totally understand your frustrations. We have been dealing with the impending Medicare D since 2004 when we began the interim drug discount plans to help the elderly. I say we, but by we, I mean me and those I work with at my pharmacy. Our customers have been asking us about these many various plans that they have to pick from for the last few months. Very little information is given to those of us who might could help and like you said, the medicare website has been having….issues lately. We have many customers who are in that middle area where they make that bit that brings them over the limits where they can get help paying their monthly premiums and their copays, yet they don’t have an unlimited supply of money. They folks are expected to pay a portion of the cost of their medication up to about $2,250.00. Then they are expected to foot the entire bill until their out of pocket reaches $3,600. For many senior citizens that is $3,600 more than they can afford. It is very frustrating and time-consuming for all involved. I have brought home with me tonight a list of the medications of one couple in particular so I can try to research just which plan might be the best for them. My boss went to Austin last weekend for a seminar with the Texas Pharmacy Association to learn more about this. Only through learning as much as we can are we able to help our customers the best we can. OH! And the final kicker to this whole Part D plan is if someone doesn’t sign up by May 2006, they will be charged a penalty on their monthly premium when they do sign up. A penalty of 1% per MONTH from May 2006 to when they sign up. The potential penalty could be more than the premium would have been without the penalty. Ok. I gotta stop before I need medication myself. Thank you for this post.

  2. Dave2 says:

    What’s even worse is that, after all your efforts to help your customers, the plan that may be best for them dictates that they cannot purchase their prescriptions from you, and must use an “approved” pharmacy.

    Just another stupid part of a stupid plan.

  3. Michele says:

    Fortunately, I guess, is the fact that our phrarmacy is part of a huge chain and we will be accepting most of the plans and be approved providers for most of the plans that are out there. There are just so many things to look and take into consideration. Will be an interesting next few months, that’s for sure.

  4. Neil T. says:

    You know, I’d love to go back in time, find the guy that thought that having the US health system in the private sector was a good thing and give him a good rollocking.

    The British system is much simpler – AFAIK, when handing over your prescription form, you just have to show that you’re over 60 (through some kind of recognised ID) and any charges are waived. All prescription medecines are usually charged at £6.50 anyway. Those on low incomes can also apply for assessment which gets further discounts – free eye tests, free wigs etc. – for this there is one form that is sent off to one organisation which leads to one certificate that can be used at any pharmacy.

    There’s also the whole NHS system – a tax-funded welfare state. We have a private sector too, which some people do opt to go into, but if you can’t afford to there’s a more than satisfactory alternative.

  5. karla says:

    The American health care system is so fucked up it’s not even funny. I do get mad at the Norwegian way of doing things, but the health care here is very good. Medication can get expensive comapred to the cost of healthcare, yes, but there’s no byzantine insurance system to go through and frequently the medications cost no more in total than just the co-pay in the US.

    I have a friend in the US whose son needs growth hormone medication at a cost of around 20,000 dollars a year. They have managed to cover it with insurance, mostly, but they are tied to their jobs and their insurance until he is 16 or so (and he’s 8 now.) It’s just unbelievable to me that things that are meant to help people are then made so innaccessible. I jsut don’t get it.

    So yes, I agree, Dave. Shoot that dog and start over with a new puppy. Your anger is rightly placed.

  6. Kevin says:

    If you go on a hunting spree regarding the morons that set this whole fubar’d system up, sign me up.

    My wife also works in a pharmacy and is expected to know and understand all this stuff when she’s been given little to no useful training on it whatsoever.

  7. SJ says:

    The American medical system is so corrupt it’s sickening. So is the American political system. The massive areas in which they overlap and interact are cesspools of greed and evil. Those bastards don’t care who’s suffering from lack of medication or care, as long as their own wallets fatten. If I believed in Hell, I would hope there is a very special torture chamber for their slimy asses.

    OK, I’m going to go take my blood pressure medication now.

  8. Art says:

    Wouldn’t term limits stop a lot of this crap? Do away with career politicians. They’re all just so corrupt.

  9. claire says:

    Nothing pisses me off like health insurance does.

  10. Alessandra says:

    It’s open season on seniors!

  11. Anonymous says:

    My friends and I plan on moving to Norway when we are actually able to (being 16 doesnt allow for much indpendent travel) The quality of life there, on average, is about the highest in the world…but i’m not entirely sure how they determine that ranking.

  12. delmer says:

    Just last night I dropped $100 in pills down my throat. Three pills — the size of tic-tacs.

    Without insurance I’d pay very close to $900 a month for 27 pills. I pay $45.00

    There is no generic equivalent.

    I appreciate the fact that the drug companies do some R&D. They need to recover their costs. But at some point their actions fall under the heading of profiteering.

  13. Belinda says:

    That the bigger cookie is a big steaming ass-cookie, too.

  14. diane says:

    I agree with your take on the Medicare D issue & am equally angered. I am 50,divorced, now disabled & have Medicare A&B. I fall into the crack or should I say ‘crater’ that I fear thousands of people do re: can’t get MediCAID but can’t afford to pay the premiums & deductables,etc. in this Med D plan. On Nov. 21st on tv news a pharmacist in Asby, Minnesota by the name of ‘David’ was interviewed. He explained that he charges very little for prescription drugs because his concious would not allow him to pay what the ‘drug companies’ recommend what he should charge. His example was an unknown drug, which was recommended by the drug company to be priced at $198.00 but ‘David’ charged only $15.00 for it & still made a small profit. It was said that he has orders from people all over the country now. I’m sure more will be calling on him the more this info gets out. Our ‘healthcare system’ is designed to make the already rich – richer. Greed! Our gov. shows no care for its people & this is a perfect example. I personally have talked to pharmacist, Social Services workers & doctors & each of them said that this new Med D plan was going to hurt a lot of people who are already hurting & also said that they do not understand the plan. The social worker had been to classes re: same & she & co-workers are “baffled!” I personally have & still go hungry at minimum 2 wks each month for several years now. I have eaten so little my stomach has shrunken. A friend took me out to eat for my birthday & I could only eat a few bites of what I wanted to eat way more of. But I couldn’t & I had to explain why after being questioned as to what was wrong with me. I don’t think even my friend believes that I don’t have food when I say I don’t have food. I live in a small town that has only one food bank & they give about a week & 1/2 of food for me. It helps. I need dental care & vision care but can’t afford it. My car broke down & sits in the yard. My meds cost more than 3/4 of my check. So I can only get the ones I feel are the most important. America needs to get our heads out of the sand & wake up! & take a look at how this country works. It is not working for its people – its working to keep the insurance, pharmacuticals, oil people & the medical-BUSINESS rich. We are continually hearing of how the food we eat is full of really bad stuff & now the wrappers on food are leaking a chemical into our bloodstream that never goes away & is getting to toxic levels – yet the gov. still will not stop this. (this was on news 3-4 days ago re: any food that may have oils/grease in it the chemical is in the wrapper to prevent the oils/grease from leaking thru,ie: popcorn, butter, granola bars, cookies, cereals, you name it, most everything in a wrapper. They specifically didn’t name the name of the chemical in the report!) Oh, don’t get me started! I have to take my B/P med now. Somehow someone who is able STAND UP! SPEAK UP! & I for one will STAND WITH YOU! Thank you for speaking out on this matter.

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