Why is it that very little news these days is surprising? Is it that so many things the Bush administration does are predictable? Or is it my natural pessimism?
I haven’t searched back in the blog, but I am sure that I predicted the consequences of the ridiculous Medicare drug program. And here it is:
Two weeks into the new Medicare prescription drug program, many of the nation’s sickest and poorest elderly and disabled people are being turned away or overcharged at pharmacies, prompting more than a dozen states to declare health emergencies and pay for their life-saving medicines.
… “This new prescription drug plan was supposed to be a voluntary program to help people who didn’t have coverage,” said Jeanne Finberg, a lawyer for the National Senior Citizens Law Center. “All this is doing is harming the people who had coverage — America’s most vulnerable citizens.”
Here’s where I start sounding like a socialist: the underlying premise of this plan is fundamentally flawed. The entire program is simply a welfare program for big drug companies. It funnels more money to the ultra-profitable pharmaceutical industry, while making it impossible for seniors to understand and get the medications they need. It is very telling that the drug companies are not required to lower their prices under this legislation, isn’t it?
Our next president has a real opportunity, one that was passed up by the compromising Clinton administration. It is time for a real national healthcare service. We’re one of the richest countries in the world — well, if you don’t count all the debt we’re in now — and we should have a first class healthcare system that covers every citizen, no matter what their income.