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Commentary

Get the Facts: Attacks on President Bush's drug plan could be costing seniors dearly
Orlando Sentinel, 5-10-06

This editorial, from the Orlando Sentinel, encourages seniors to look past politically motivated criticisms of the Medicare "part D" drug benefit and "get the facts" about the plan in advance of the May 15 deadline for seniors to choose a prescription drug insurance plan without penalties.

With the deadline for enrolling in President Bush's Medicare prescription-drug plan looming, you'd hope politics might subside so that seniors could be encouraged to sign up for the benefit that could save them hundreds or thousands of dollars each year.

Those hopes were dashed again, however, when Democrats stepped up their attacks on the drug benefit called Medicare Part D in advance of Monday's deadline. Mr. Bush is in Orlando today to encourage seniors to look past the rhetoric and get the facts.

If you are a senior, it is important that you do just that. The prescription-drug plan may or may not save you money, but you owe it to yourself to find out.

It is unfortunate that Congress seems unlikely to extend the enrollment deadline. That would give seniors who have been scared away by political shenanigans more time to get the facts.

Indeed, the attacks on the president's plan are hard to fathom. The critics complain that it is too hard to understand and that it is a boon to drug companies. Then, almost in the same breath, these same critics acknowledge that enrollees are saving money on their prescriptions...

Certainly, the program got off to a rough start at the first of the year, when a poorly planned launch was overwhelmed by the response. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services did not hire enough operators to handle the calls. The Medicare Web site crashed. Many folks showed up at their pharmacists' windows in January confused and without coverage.

But things have improved.



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