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View Diary: Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: WH taking fire on Obamacare (124 comments)

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  •  People forget what a disaster (1+ / 0-)
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    Medicare Part D was on it's rollout.

    The online interactive tool has been pitched as a high-tech way to help the 43 million Medicare beneficiaries sort through all the drug coverage choices. After seniors key in their name, birth date, the names of drugs they take and other information, the Web site spits out a personalized list of drug plans in their area ranked by annual cost.

    Advocates for seniors say they expect the tool to be an indispensable aid in signing people up for this significant new government-sponsored benefit.

    Problem is, the Medicare folks have had some trouble getting the tool up and running. The original debut date was Oct. 13, but officials delayed it, citing the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. Next it was promised on Oct. 17, but that day, too, came and went without personalized plan comparisons being available.

    Late in the month, McClellan told reporters that the feature definitely would be ready before Nov. 15, the date when seniors can begin signing up for the drug benefit. (Coverage takes effect Jan. 1.)
    Enrollment in the law was set to begin in late 2005. In April of that year, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that only 27 percent of respondents understood the law, while only 21 percent favored it. (In a comparable Kaiser poll in April 2013, 35 percent viewed the Affordable Care Act favorably and less than half felt they were well-informed of its details.)

    The Medicare site, meant to help seniors pick benefit plans, was supposed to debut Oct. 13, 2005, but it didn’t go live until weeks later in November. Even then, "the tool itself appeared to be in need of fixing," the Washington Post reported at the time.

    Here's a fun fact- there was so much confusion about the 70-100 different plans in Medicare Part D that Congress authorized the use of "community Navigators" to help seniors sign up by the end of the year. Some of you might remember that Wal Mart and chain drug stores like Walgreens had people there to help seniors choose the best plan. A lot of non-profits also got involved- one of them being ACORN.
    Remember that the current House refused to provide funding to NFP groups to become navigators for the ACA.
    Meanwhile you have the states also trying to screw the uninsured:

    Florida has also refused to advertise the availability of the new program on October 1 even as it bars navigators from helping people sign up at county health centers.

    The Associated Press reports that county health departments are allowed to accept outreach materials related to insurance offered on the state exchange, but seemingly will only distribute those materials if patients ask for it.

    "With Florida having one of the highest numbers of uninsured people in the country...It makes no sense to deny local health departments the ability to provide navigator services to uninsured people who need help signing up. It is disappointing and unnecessary," Leah Barber-Heinz, spokeswoman for advocacy group and navigator partner Florida CHAIN, told the AP.

    Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

    by skohayes on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 07:07:03 AM PST

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