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Drug plan not designed with intelligence

November 29, 2005|by TIM ROWLAND

Because it's so controversial, I hate to weigh in on the whole "Intelligent Design" debate, but since you depend on me for accurate answers, I feel as if I have no choice.

To cut to the chase, I think "Intelligent Design" is a fraud and a sham.

I have assessed all available information and read everything there is to read on the topic. I have sought out higher powers, I have meditated on the subject matter, I have analyzed all sides, both objective and subjective.

The root question is this: Is there an "intelligent designer" who put all this in place, or did everything as we know it just materialize in a cosmic coagulation of bits and pieces, seeking their own equilibrium out of an eruption of volcanic chaos?

Clearly it is the latter. Sure, an intelligent designer would explain a lot of things and wrap it all up in a nice tidy bow, but when all is said and done, I think there is too much scientific evidence to the contrary. Random, self-perpetuating turmoil is the only logical answer for the origin.

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And I am speaking, of course, about the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

The Medicare Prescription Drug Plan is a way for you to acquire any medication, with the exception of: A. Those that you need, and B. Those that cost money.

In other words, unless you need a lot of medication or do not need a lot of medication, this new plan will be of great benefit to you.

It works like this: After you have met a $250 deductible (the estimated price of one pill), you pay 25 percent of the drug costs unless you spend more than $2,250 in small, unmarked bills, in which case you pay 100 percent of the drug costs divided by themselves until you have spent your $2,850, minus depreciation, in drug costs, thereby lowering your responsibility to 5 percent of the drug costs after your drug spending has hit $3,600 for that particular calendar year.

Well, that's what happens for the "standard" level of coverage, when Jupiter is in Aquarius in odd-number years during substandard oyster harvests while the moon is completing its waxing gibbous phase.

This "coverage" might or might not reflect upon your "deductible," entitling you to a new set of "headaches." For which, you will need more drugs.

It is ever so fun to watch federal health officials and members of Congress being interviewed about the plan. They say: "This is a great plan." If the interviewer leaves it at that, things usually come out OK. But occasionally, the journalist will deviate from the script and ask one of those tough, follow-up questions such as, "How does it work?" If that happens, the health official or member of Congress will get the ole illuminated deer look and immediately runs off to find a federal judge who will throw the journalist in jail. Luckily, this only takes a few seconds.

You get the idea that for every person these medications save, four will succumb to Death By Enrollment Form. Seniors will be found facedown in their bran flakes clutching a pen with which, using their last remaining strength, they have scribbled, "Must ... opt ... out."

Additionally, I have discovered that there will be "Medicare Prescription Drug Plans" that add coverage to the "Original Medicare Plan," Medicare "Private Fee-for Service Plans" that don't offer Medicare prescription drug coverage and Medicare Cost Plans.

There also will be prescription drug coverage that is a part of "Medicare Advantage Plans" (like an HMO, PPO or PFFS Plan) and other "Medicare Health Plans." You would get all of your health care, including prescription drug coverage, through these plans.

That last paragraph was lifted directly from the Medicare drug-plan Web site.

I had planned to write my own, fake, overly complicated paragraph to dramatize the problems with Medicare Plan D, but I found that the bureaucrats already had done this, so it saves me the effort.

Now that's what I call real, meaningful government assistance.




Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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