Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Friday, July 28

Sen: Brown (D) to Hold Press Conferences on Medicare Part D [UPDATED]

Responding to a TV ad by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that praises Sen. Mike DeWine for voting for the new Medicare Part D prescription coverage, challenger Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) will hold a press conference in Cincinnati on Sunday to highlight serious problems in the structure and implementation of the flawed legislation.

Brown's campaign has issued the following invitation to seniors and disabled persons adversely affected by the law:
Are you upset about Medicare Part D?

Do you have to pay exorbitant prescription drug costs on top of your monthly premiums?

Are you one of the 7 million Americans who will soon fall into the ‘donut hole’ gap in coverage?

Then come join Dr. Victoria Wulsin at a press conference for U.S. Senate Candidate Sherrod Brown

This Sunday, July 30th at 2:30, Norwood Retirement Community, 1500 Sherman Avenue

Come join us to show that Ohio seniors and disabled citizens deserve better!
UPDATE: Okay, the Cincinnati press conference is part of a series that includes at least Lima and Columbus as well:
Medicare News Conference: Lima
Sunday, July 30, 11:00 AM
Allen County Health Department
219 E Market St, Lima OH

Medicare News Conference: Columbus
Monday, July 31, 11:00 AM
3426 Corban Commons Drive
Columbus, OH
This Columbus Dispatch story about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ads and Brown's counterattack makes me absolutely furious. The reporter relates the following numbers from a poll release this week:
A survey released this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that more than eight in 10 seniors who are enrolled in a Medicare drug plan are satisfied, although nearly two in 10 reported a major problem using the benefit.
Then the story quotes two so-called political experts who question why Brown keeps challenging DeWine about it, since most people who signed up seem satisfied. That is so wrong! Those statistics from Kaiser do NOT mean that Medicare Part D is a successful program. First, the numbers cited concern only those who signed up. In fact, as reported in the Cleveland Plain Dealer a few days ago here, 60 percent of seniors responding to the Kaiser survey didn't even sign up for the program. So, the real situation is that 42% of those surveyed have signed up and are satisfied, 8% signed up and are unhappy, and 60% are so unhappy with the program they didn't sign up at all! Even if it were legitimate to just look at those who signed up, 80% is NOT a satisfactory approval rate for a program of this type. That means that one in five - one in five! - are having serious trouble with it. That's horrible! (The rest of Medicare, by contrast, is extremely effective and popular.) Also, there are other findings in the poll that show what a mess it really is:
* Of those enrolled, 62 percent said changes are needed in the program.

* Only 46 percent of those enrolled said they are saving money compared with what they spent last year.

* Only 44 percent correctly responded that members cannot switch plans whenever they wish, and about a third either did not know if their plans have a coverage gap or did not answer the question, showing that many seniors don't understand the basic rules of the program.
That shows, as stated by Robert Hayes, president of the Medicare Rights Center, in the PD article, "we have an extravagant, wastefully flawed program that does too little good for too few people."


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