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Mona Gable Headshot

Medicare Madness

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Does anyone understand the Medicare drug prescription plan? Or should I say plans? Because if I'm correct there seems to be a D and a B version and possibly even more variations of the alphabet. If so please let me know as soon as possible. Because I had a brief and horrifying encounter with it and I am ready to flee to France or at the very least Canada, whose governments actually take care of their elderly citizens. That or just give up drugs altogether.

I say this and I wasn't even trying to negotiate this system for my mother-in-law or some other older family member. But it could just be my Attention Deficit Disorder acting up or an early case of dementia because the President, as you know, keeps insisting the new law is WORKIN' JUST FIIINE! and that IT IS A VERY GOOD DEAL FOR U!

Oh, really? He might want to have a chat with the befuddled middle-aged man who was at my neighborhood pharmacy last night. I was picking up a prescription for the 15-year-old and the man was in front of me with his 78-year-old father talking to my pharmacist. The son had a New York accent and I'd never seen him before. While they were sorting things out Dad stood there patiently with his hands clasped in front of him trying to follow along. He didn't say a word. Usually I'm in a rush to get out of there--all those people hacking and sneezing--but I was so appalled and fascinated by the conversation I was rooted to the spot.

Apparently Dad had not been sick a day in his life. Until now. And that was part of the problem. He wasn't in The System. And under Medicare's new and hopelessly Byzantine rules they might not be able to enroll him until...July! The other problem they were grappling with was price. Depending on where he bought them, Dad's prescriptions could cost anywhere from $300 to $500 a month. The son naturally asked, What about getting drugs from Canada?

My pharmacist is a good guy. He's young and enthusiastic and eager to please. I could see he wanted to help this man. To do the right thing. So he told him it was "against the law" but also left the question slightly ambiguous. "Whether or not it is enforced...." He shrugged. What about Internet sites? the son wanted to know. My pharmacist grimaced. He told the man they were "shady" and that he'd heard lots of horror stories. People getting sold sugar pills and the like.

I had to go so I don't know what happened, if the dad ever got his prescriptions, or the son had to pay full price. When I left they were still figuring things out.

I think Bush should be forced to shepherd George--or better yet, Barbara--to the nearest Walgreen's so he can get a taste of his own bitter medicine. Let him see what it's like trying to fill a prescription or two or six. Oh, and let's not forget "Dr." Frist, that pillar of medical expertise! He should be forced to schlep to the pharmacy for drugs too. Maybe he and Bush could go together? Now that would be funny.