“I am not trying to make excuses or minimize the difficulties some are having. Those problems need to be fixed, and fixed fast. By all accounts, everyone is working hard to get them resolved. ... The point is, the opponents of this new benefit will complain and fight it no matter what happens. I hope everyone remembers that.”That’s what Sen. Charles Grassley said on the Senate floor in 2006, in defense of the disasterous launch of the Republican Medicare expansion.
Tea Party members and Republicans rail about the fact that ObamaCare was passed with all Democratic votes. Oddly, it never seemed to bother them that Republicans passed the Medicare expansion at three o’clock on a Saturday morning while the nation slept. The primary difference...Bush’s multi-billion dollar giveaway was completely unfunded; a gift basket of taxpayer subsidies to insurance and prescription drug companies. It had no dedicated financing, no offsets and no revenue-raisers, while ObamaCare employs all these financing mechanisms.
More importantly, the launch of the new Medicare program was a disaster. Millions of seniors faced the prospect of going without life-saving medicines because of untrained pharmacists and computer glitches. More than a dozen states declared health emergencies because many of the nation's sickest and poorest elderly and disabled people were being turned away or overcharged at pharmacies.A House Committee on Energy and Commerce memorandum, (Hearing on Medicare Part D: Implementation of the New Drug Benefit) reviews the initial months of implementation of the Medicare Part D drug benefit.
This is what headlines looked like:
Straighten out the Part D Maze, Cleveland Plain Dealer (Nov. 20, 2005).
Confusion Reigns over Drug Plans, Sacramento Bee (Jan. 7, 2006).
New Medicare Law Trips Up the Poor; Doctors, pharmacists say some will die for lack of medicine, San Diego Union Tribune (Jan. 12, 2006).
Medicare Part D: Not ready for prime time, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Jan. 16, 2006).
Prescription-Drug Plan Part D gets an early 'F', Philadelphia Inquirer (Jan. 14, 2006).
Medicare Guide is in Need of Rx, Newsday (Oct. 8, 2005).
Glitches Jam Medicare Drug Plan, Orlando Sentinel (Jan. 8, 2006).
Still, unlike today's Republican Governors who are denying Medicaid coverage to their constituents, Democratic governors spent billions of dollars to assure seniors had access to the new benefits under Medicare.
The States Step in as Medicare Falters, Washington Post (Jan. 14, 2006)
Unlike today’s Congressional Republicans who:
Went all the way to the Supreme Court in an attempt to overturn ObamaCare;
Attempted to repeal and defund the law more than forty times, wasting more than $50 million;
Blocked the expansion of Medicaid in Republican-led states;
Refused to set up state health care exchanges;
Sought to cut-off funds for outreach and customer service;
and finally shutdown the government squandering an estimated $24 billion and hundreds of thousands of jobs,
Democrats put aside partisan thoughts and worked with Republicans to get the program up and running, because they respect the law and do what is best for the country.