Democrats air their views on Medicare prescription drugs discount cards

On Tuesday the new Medicare prescription drugs discount cards went into effect. The enrollment process is so confusing, most seniors are not signing up for the cards. Those that have will quickly discover the cards don’t deliver the savings they were promised.

Rubberstamp George Nethercutt, always ready to join the latest GOP P.R. campaign, has been traveling the state touting the proposal. In May, he asked seniors to follow his lead in demonstrating unquestioning, unwavering support of Bush proposals.

“Nethercut advises seniors not to research all options before making a decision.”

Blind trust is the only way seniors could think that having the fox guard the chicken coup is a good idea when it comes to their prescriptions. Republican leaders let the pharmaceutical companies write their prescription drug bill. The result? A plan that protects profits for drug companies and gives seniors the nice benefit of a shiny new card to stick in their wallet. Only unlike the Safeway Club Card, there is no guarantee of savings.

The GOP Medicare bill created a new drug discount card, which they claim will provide savings of up to 25 percent. However, the companies offering the cards determine the size of the discounts and which drugs are available at reduced prices. Because there is no requirement that insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers specify the prices before the discount is applied, the drug companies can raise prices, offer a slight discount from these higher prices, and protect their profits.

Under the GOP plan, seniors will only be allowed to sign up for one discount card, and when they do, they will be locked into that card for one year -- even though the drug company offering the cards can change the drugs they cover and the discounts they have promised weekly.

“The new Medicare prescription drug cards are nothing but a gimmick meant to give republicans credit for ‘taking action’ on prescription drugs, while allowing drug companies to continue making money hand over fist,” said Kirstin Brost, Communications Director for the Democratic Coordinated Campaign. “Nethercutt’s loyalty to party will get him plenty of ‘atta boys’ from his party leaders, but it’s going to kill him at the ballot box.”

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