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Note: If you are not eligible for Medicare, then none of this article applies to you.
According to Feder and other analysts who addressed the public health professionals, these principles are lost in the Medicare Modernization Act passed by the previous Congress and in the proposals for changing Social Security.
The legislation's supporters maintain that the bill will save seniors billions of dollars over a two-year period by allowing private health plans to compete for seniors' business by providing better coverage at affordable prices--in effect controlling Medicare costs via marketplace competition, not government price-setting.
When Medicare was started in 1965, outpatient prescription drugs were not a common benefit in private insurance programs.
Earlier this year, the President laid out a set of principles for Congress to follow as it begins its debate over the Medicare drug issue--located on FEI's Web site at www.
The lack of drug benefits for Medicare beneficiaries, however, is forcing many seniors to forgo filling necessary prescriptions.
The reason we hear so much talk about austerity for Medicare is that politicians--and their friends in the insurance, pharmaceutical, and managed-care industries--are determined to undermine federally subsidized health care.
At stake in the upcoming Medicare debate is not just the fairness and sufficiency of Medicare funding, but whether health care for America's elderly will be turned over to the insurance industry which has made such a mess of health care for the non-elderly.
Be aware that you will need to deal with a Medicare-approved supplier who has a Medicare number.