A New Can Of Worms
15 June 2004
Prescription Drug Cards

Only about 49,000 seniors have signed up for the prescription drug cards that were part of the Medicare Modernization Act. A big reason for the lower than expected numbers have to do with the complexity of acquiring the card. There has also been a systematic attempt to discredit the program by Democrats for political gain -- a truly shameless tactic. Yet, for the people using the card there is a lot of benefit. According to the Washington Post:

"I can tell you the drug card is working,' said Gladys Cole, 73, of Kansas City, who lives on her Social Security income. She used her card for the first time last week and was charged $22 by the pharmacist for two prescriptions that usually cost her about $120. 'He told me what the savings was. I just about dropped my false teeth.''

As more evidence creeps out that the drug card is working, it will be harder for the Democrats to discredit the program. Still, the process by which you get a card remains a complex one. Can you teach an old dog new tricks? A lot of seniors -- heck a lot of Americans -- aren't savvy health care consumers because we've let insurance companies or government officials make all of our health care decisions. So, there is a learning curve that must be addressed.

However,empirical evidence presented Derek Hunter of the Heritage Foundation suggests that the cards will lead to significant savings. He further suggests that the cards may be a permanent solution that will be a less expensive alternative to the permanent Medicare drug benefit.

My guess is that if you show an American a way to save a buck, then they will become very savvy consumers in a hurry.
14 June 2004
Liberals Aren't Used To Being on the Wrong Side of These...

Finding a brain surgeon takes a rocket scientist according to the SJ-R. The lead is a classic example of personalization -- telling an ancedote that personalizes an issue:

"It took the ambulance 40 minutes to get Fred Andricks from this city where he lived to a St. Louis medical center, and the blood clot on his brain got bigger as the ambulance took him from a local hospital that no longer performed brain surgery.

The 85-year-old retired machinist, who had tripped and bumped his head, died the next day from the swelling in his brain.
No one is sure whether Andricks would have survived had he been able to get more immediate care at one of the closer hospitals that snowy night last February."

I've been carping for months that med malpractice reform could tilt the State Senate to Frank Watson this fall. A few more stories like this and I imagine other Springfield watchers may begin to agree.
Too Liberal For Illinois?

Is the question Jack Ryan will be asking about Illinois.

The question for me will be the level of expectations for Ryan in the debate. Obama has been coronated US Senator by the press. This lowers the expectations for Ryan.

I imagine too much glowing press will be a worry for Obama's campaign as we move into the summer months. Ryan then does well in the debates by merely finding the venue. Then the story line becomes, "A funny thing happened on the way to coronation"
as the press takes a "fresh look" at Ryan.

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