Wednesday, November 15, 2006

WHY FIXING THE DRUG CARD FIRST IS THE MAGIC BULLET

In 2004, a realtor named Melissa Bean from Republican Heaven (Barrington, Illinois) accidentally got herownself elected to congress. She had some money, had some friends with some money and shoplifted a seat where the repub had not exactly distinguished himself.

So she was an accident and it was going to get fixed this time. The Repubs were going to reclaim this seat. Never mind that her GOP opponent out of a mass primary was a Dufus and never mind that she was on track to raise obscene amounts of money. She had no chance.

Melissa Bean not only had money. She had message discipline. She didn't want to talk about Iraq and she didn't want to talk about Rummy and she didn't want to talk about Social Security. She thumped on "fix the drug card--open up competitive bidding!" She romped and she's going back to Congress.

Cut to mid-November. A recent poll of folks who voted in the recent national mid-term elections (Including GOP voters) says 61% of all voters expect the democrat majority will improve their lives in the near term. In other words, they're expecting something they can see, touch and feel before the snow melts.

Fixing the drug card does that. It also brings AARP into the dem's caucus plugging the bill and activates the most reliable voters, old people. There is no other contender. First order of business is FIX THE FREAKING DRUG CARD. Listen to Melissa. She's tuned into the will of the people.

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10 Comments:

At 10:42 AM, November 15, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fixing the drug card is a good idea....but that only affects a portion of the population.

How about doing something to improve the vast majority of people's lives?

Hell, why not do BOTH?

Oops, forgot, it's Washington. :)

 
At 12:00 PM, November 15, 2006, Blogger UMRBlog said...

Actually, good serious question wrapped in a funny.

Two reasons. Everybody's somebody's relative. Fix the ridiculous drug card and you make the generations to follow grateful, both for Mom's relief and their own forthcoming help.

Second, the screwup is so new, there is no old, entrenched bureaucracy to defend it and confuse congress with disinformation. Easy to fix now, hard later.

Actually, there is a third reason. It'll cause the drug companies a little discomfort and almost everybody will like that. A little shot back at the oligopoly.

TYFCB

 
At 12:59 PM, November 15, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good points.

I was just being contrarian, of course.

In any event, I cannot think of any issue that would "improve the vast majority of people's lives" on which they could take reasonable action.

An excellent posting, sir, to which I, moderate-to-conservative that I am, can take no exception.

 
At 1:35 PM, November 15, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wal-Mart beat all of you all to this punch, 4.00 meds, they put everyone on notice here. My own health insurer sent me an email: "Hey, you all might want to check into Wal-Mart's 4 dollar prog...." imagine that ! LOL

 
At 6:36 PM, November 15, 2006, Blogger Gideon said...

Melissa isnt/wasnt a Realtor - although Realtors sure are great!

 
At 7:55 PM, November 15, 2006, Blogger UMRBlog said...

My God! Don't tell the Realtors who gave her 1.8M.

Best Message discipline of any Cong. Candidate in Illinois.

TYFCB

 
At 4:08 PM, November 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is the drug card ridiculous? 75% of those who are in the program are satisfied. In your opinion what are the broad economic benefits of what is essentially price fixing, or government run pharmacuedical companies, by the government?

 
At 7:24 PM, November 21, 2006, Blogger UMRBlog said...

1608,

Method's flawed. VA already bargains for comparable formularies and their program works very well and has not broken any drug companies.

As you probably know, the current Part D actually contains a PROHIBITION against bargaining based upon volume. That is letting the fox guard the henhouse.

TYFCB

 
At 7:54 PM, November 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The VA does good work, but it's not a viable model for Medicare.

Drugs used in the VA system are older than drugs used in the non-VA sector and that the gap has widened since the National Formulary was implemented.

The majority of the VA National Formulary's drugs are more than 8 years old-just 19% of prescription drugs approved since 2000 and 38% of prescription drugs approved between 1990-2000 are on the VA Formulary.

Veterans' life expectancy increased substantially before the National Formulary was introduced (between 1991-1997) but did not increase, and may have declined, after the National Formulary was introduced (between 1997-2002). Yet, the life expectancy of all U.S. males increased both before and after 1997.

It might as you suggest get you some votes, but we shouldn't let the government decide who gets what drug and who lives longest.

 
At 6:17 AM, November 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are many proposals in Congress to adopt a system similar to the VA National Formulary for purchases under the new Medicare drug benefit. Data suggest that this shift could reduce well-being, life span, and survival rates among the Medicare population, raising serious questions about the wisdom of these proposals.

 

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