Ye Olde Donutte Hole

YE OLDE DONUTTE HOLE….It’s coming soon, thanks to the Republican Party treating the Medicare prescription bill as a political football instead of a serious policy issue:

“Virtually everyone who calls to say they’ve been denied coverage, they’re shocked,” said Robert M. Hayes, president of the Medicare Rights Center, a nonprofit that helps seniors navigate Medicare. “Trying to explain that this is the way the program was created by Congress angers folks who think it makes no sense. Many people feel blindsided.”

The coverage gap was one of the most contentious elements of the 2003 legislation that created the new benefit. It ends federal payments for a person’s drug purchases once an annual spending limit is reached, resuming them only after the beneficiary has spent thousands of dollars out of pocket.

As I’ve said before, I would have been willing to cut the budget for the Medicare prescription bill by a third if Republicans had just been willing to let serious policymakers craft a program that was wholly dedicated to getting prescription drugs into the hands of seniors as efficiently as possible. But they wanted to play games instead. Result: a bad program, and one that costs more than a good program would have cost.

Your Republican Congress at work.