Archive for Friday, January 20, 2006

Sebelius concerned about Medicare deadline

January 20, 2006


— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said today she's worried that many seniors could choose the wrong prescription drug coverage because of confusion surrounding the federal Medicare program.

Medicare began offering prescription drug coverage in November, with 42,000 poor and frail elderly Kansans automatically enrolled. An additional 360,000 seniors are eligible for coverage but must choose among 41 plans by May 15, or face financial penalties.

Sebelius said during a Statehouse news conference that she's worried because from the first group of enrollees, the state has had 14,000 requests for assistance with prescriptions. Last week, the governor said the state could cover seniors' prescription costs if they were having problems getting enrolled or receiving benefits - a decision that already has cost the state $1 million.

The governor made her comments a day after Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger called on President Bush to seek legislation to push back the May 15 enrollment deadline. (See earlier story.)

While Sebelius and Praeger faced criticism today from a Republican legislator, who accused them of doing little to help seniors, Sebelius said federal officials enacted the program without consulting state officials.


Godot 12 years, 4 months ago

Praeger is grandstanding by calling out the President to seek legislation to change Medicare. She should be putting pressure on our representatives in Congress if she wants this to get fixed, and she should be offering ideas.

Of course, Sebelius resorts to her usual tactic, Complain about the problem, then say, "They made the mess, I'm not going to help them fix it."

I have said time and again, Sebelius is useless as a leader, but a real gem for the Dems as a politician. Now she's playing politics with Kansas' senior citizens.

What a pair.

badger 12 years, 4 months ago

Hey, Godot?

What part of:

"Last week, the governor said the state could cover seniors' prescription costs if they were having problems getting enrolled or receiving benefits - a decision that already has cost the state $1 million."

is saying they made the mess and she's not going to help them fix it? It sounds a lot more like, "Until you guys pull your heads out into the sunshine, we'll take up the slack in the program you should have designed better in the first place, so hurry it up, because we're not made of money."

Medicare isn't Sebelius' responsibility. She could very easily have used this to just take a cheap shot at the current administration, leave the seniors to twist in the wind, and then when Grandpa is having to choose between food and heart medication, use that to twist the knife on President Bush some more.

Or is she a bad old tax-n-spend Democrat for promising that seniors confused and hung out to dry by Medicare D will have their medication even if she has to pull money out of the state budget to do it?

Sounds like she's actually trying to look out for Kansas seniors a heckuva lot more than the President.

Centrist 12 years, 4 months ago

hear, hear, BADGER .... well said!

Sebelius has been a VERY good governor - a helluva lot better than what Tim "Shallowburger" would have been ...!

She is taking an interest in what goes on in this state. Oh, no, could it be? An "interventionist" leader? Shock horror! Big Brother, or in this case, Big Sister, actually doing what is meant to be done. Governing FOR the people.

There's more to life than war, oil, and religion, folks.

(And no, I'm not a Democrat, in case anyone asks - I'm critical of all sides ..)

Godot 12 years, 4 months ago

Well, I thought the Democratas said the Medicare Part D prescription drug program was not only not necessary, it was going to bankrupt the country.

Prior to January 1, Medicare eligible people did not receive any help from the Federal government to purchase their prescriptions, and the Democrats, including Sebelius, are on record saying it should stay that way.

Then, January 1 rolls around, and, lo and behold, people have difficulty receiving their brand, new entitlement, and Sebelius declares it an emergency and coughs up $1,000,000 (which the Feds will reimburse). Then, as a former insurance commissioner who is supposed to be a health care guru, she has no ideas to offer on how to fix things, but demands that the program that she didn't approve of in the first place be fixed.

Maybe I'm missing something here, but that sounds like political opportunism to me.

badger 12 years, 4 months ago

I think you're missing something.

How about, "Hey, you remember this program modification you insisted we had to have, and my side said was a bad idea? Well, now the whole program is broken, and people who were getting their medications under the old system won't be under the new one. Now, I can cover for you people until you get this mess straight, but you best straighten it out."

Health care guru or not, she's not responsible for fixing a bollixed national Medicare system, and you're really grasping for reasons to complain if that's your beef with her ("Hey, why isn't the Governor of Kansas trying to fix national problems she didn't cause, didn't support causing, and has no real control over?" is really just silly).

She's pointing out that the federal government let her citizens down and seems to have no interest at all in cleaning up the mess it has made of Medicare, which (though it was nowhere near perfect or even great) worked a lot better before the changes.

She's also pointing out to those same citizens that they don't need to be afraid that they won't be able to get the things they need to live, because she's going to do what a governor is supposed to do, which is watch out for the people she's accepted the responsibility for governing as well as she is able.

And heck yeah the Feds BETTER reimburse every single state that has to scrounge its own budget for money they didn't expect to have to come up with to make sure that people don't have to choose between heat, food, shelter, and medicine because the federal government is incompetent.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 12 years, 4 months ago

These seniors have been getting their drugs, now they can't and are having trouble adjusting to the new system. A system that continues to give taxpayer money away to the pharmaceutical industry. Let's be honest, the pharmaceutical industry has a lot at stake considering the issue of possible government intervention. Their friends in high places (that happen to be GOP at the moment) found another way to avoid pressuring that industry to control drug prices to Americans and say to us that it's such a wonderful thing...hmmm. And Sebelius was supposed to fix something like this that she didn't deeply participate in? Really?

The last time that the Democrats came forward with a comprehensive health care initiative, it was squashed by the GOP. Do you remember "government health care makes me sick"? At that point, the GOP said that the health care system in the US "is the best in the world and there's no need for change".

becbec10 12 years, 4 months ago

I work daily with the Medicare Prescription Drug program. It has it's challenges, however extending the deadline isn't going to fix our low income beneficaries in getting their drugs. this is a learning experience for all and we have to have a little patience.

I know that President Bush is working on this situation as we speak, but we have to give time to let all things happen. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither has this program. I know the MMA law has been out for a few years now, but we will always be learning.

Please remember that the SSA, the drug programs and Medicare has sent out many mailings to assist with making sure that everyone was informed on this project.

It is great that our state is jumping in to help out...just think of those states that aren't.

We will make this the best we can as soon as the learning curve has been overcome.

Remember that everyone can take the time to help out someone in need...

Ragingbear 12 years, 4 months ago

For those who missed it, the Federal Government has announced that states that provide stop-gap funding for those who have not yet gotten thier cards, and needed like preserving or life-saving drugs will NOT be reimbursed.

I am on part D. The central offices that were supposed to help were still unsure of everything as of Dec 20th. I signed up for a plan on Dec 10th. This was right after I discovered that my default medicare D plan was a sack of fetid hog swill. But due to so many people having to wait until the last minute to find anything, I did not get my card until the 10th of January. Fortunately, I had the foresight to get my monthly prescriptions refilled on Dec 30th. But many people were unable to do this.

For this plan, all the stuff that wasn't done until December or January should have been done in July. But I am still sure that this entire thing is gonna bite us in the arse in the near future.

norm 12 years, 4 months ago

It's the norm for Kansas and SRS:

Sebelius has her fair haired boy Bob Day running that show through Medicaid and HealthWave through a private contractor, MAXIMUS..... and they were never prepared for the onslaught of problems that were predicted but which Day would not listen to or entertain. "Everything is up to date here in Kansas....." to paraphrase a song.

Yes, Day is in Medicaid and not Medicare "officially", but he's the joker calling the shots and making $100k per year in his unclassified, political pay off job. It's the norm around here, ya know?

These slime ball politicians need a G.I. blanket party in their favor. Idiots.

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