Is the Medicare Drug Benefit Too Much of a Good Thing?

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Until now, the 42 million elderly and disabled people on Medicare have been paying for their own prescription drugs or going without them. That burden is supposed to be relieved in January by the new Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, a plan the Bush Administration claims will cut drug costs for a typical beneficiary in half. But that's only if the beneficiary signs up, and there are at least 40 drug plans to choose from--all with different premiums, deductibles and co-payments. Despite the government's $250 million promotional campaign, there's so much confusion that one survey shows just 20% of those eligible are planning to sign up. Is the $700 billion Medicare expansion in trouble before it even begins? Will the price of drugs be affected at all? With enrollment starting today, we hear about widespread paralysis over personal decisions with life-long consequences.
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Medicare (1-800-MEDICARE)

Medicare Modernization Act of 2003

Medicare Drug Plan Finder (from CMS)

Kaiser Family Foundation on seniors and medicare drug benefit plan

World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

Net Dialogue



Warren Olney