The problems that plagued low-income seniors and people with disabilities during the rollout of Medicare's prescription-drug program in January have continued on a smaller scale, causing some new beneficiaries to lose coverage or spend their own money at pharmacy counters.
The problems occur when people turn 65 or become eligible for Medicare disability benefits and are involuntarily switched from Medicaid drug coverage to the new Medicare plan. Thousands lose Medicaid drug coverage, typically for two to six weeks, before Medicare kicks in. Health counselors say the trouble dominates their caseloads.
"It is a national problem," says Barbara Murock, a state health policy specialist in Allegheny County, Pa. "It's happening all the time."
Since January, most of the early problems have been rectified. But each month, 10,000 to 70,000 new people fall into the gap between Medicaid and Medicare.
It seems that George W. Bush, Mark Green and the others that gave birth to this huge expansion of government gave plenty of thought to how it could benefit big drug companies. For Example, not allowing the government to negotiate with them for lower drug prices. Why didn't they give as much thought to the elderly citizens that would rely on the program?
These constant revelations of gaps, cracks and screw ups in the program are almost maddening. That is for someone that is a long way away from needing it. How much more so for the elderly that need help now?