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Author: RetiredVermonter Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 1498  
Subject: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/13/2007 7:49 AM
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I just read the article(s) in my newest AARP newsletter about the need for people to again shop around and probably CHANGE their Part D Rx plans for 2008, because many things will change -- drugs covered, costs, etc.

What a farce this is!

We have no Rx plan, as I've posted before, because it makes no sense for us to do so and would waste about $600/year over and above what we pay for prescriptions now.

A lot of elderly people are very elderly and rather hapless and helpless, for one reason or another. For them to have to scurry around, wading through a lot of mumbo jumbo, just to have coverage they already signed up for once, is terrible. Why on earth does our government tolerate and even cause this situation to exist!?

Shame on our government. And shame on all the companies who participate in this jigsaw puzzle.

Why not have ONE basic plan? Oh -- free enterprise, right? Spare me.

Good thing we at least have a common approach to stop lights. I hope no one decides that green may mean STOP in some places and red may mean GO!
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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1188 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/13/2007 2:42 PM
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Vermonter, if the plan you have works for you great. More power to you.

So far Medicare Part D has worked pretty well. The hassles of finding a plan that worked were much over blown. (Who ever bought insurance by contacting all possible suppliers about all available plans. Obviously, you work with the companies you know and trust and go with one of their plans unless a friend finds one that is much better.)

Cost of Part D have turned out to be less than projections.

The overall program is affordable.

The much ballyhooed donut hole seems not to be a concern to many. I have seen no letters to the editor on the subject, or horror stories about it on TV. Apparently the plan satisfies most people.

Yes, every act that comes out of Congress is a set of compromises. The idea of keeping private companies competing for the business seems to have succeeded in keeping costs low and like your IRA lets you shop for a better supplier if you are dissatisfied with the one you have. (That is quite different from a govt bureauracy that gives you whatever it likes and gives you no options other than to gripe.)

But yes, competition adds complexity. But only if you decide to change programs for a better deal. Not if you are satisfied with the program you have.

AARP is running commericals that plead for cooperation between the parties to get some work done. But clearly AARP is a political animal with very blue leanings. They are openly blue in NJ. And the line you mention is solidly in support of more and bigger govt.

Yes, govt needs to do some things, but there are not many programs the govt does well. They are certainly very big spenders.

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Author: RetiredVermonter Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1189 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/13/2007 3:29 PM
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pauleckler:

Gee, do you work for the government? Forgive me, but it sounds as if you do.

The hassles of finding a plan that worked were much over blown.

Oh? Who says so? I did the on-line search the first time, for my state, since every state varies, and found I forget how many -- two, maybe three dozen companies out there? They were all offering all kinds of options, and prices varying from $13/month to $75/month! How about the many, many elderly who do not even OWN a PC? Just pick one -- on a retiree's income? C'mon, man. I was and am reasonably conversant on line. Have you tried to call one of the "helpful" agencies or sources to help you choose a plan?

Who ever bought insurance by contacting all possible suppliers about all available plans. Obviously, you work with the companies you know and trust and go with one of their plans unless a friend finds one that is much better.

Oh sure. Great. Logical from your perspective, maybe, but, again, not for many, many 65+ people who may never have even HEARD of a lot of these companies, or who may never have "worked with" ANY such companies, especially their first time!

Cost of Part D have turned out to be less than projections. The overall program is affordable.

For whom? The government, maybe, but not necessarily for the insured!

Yes, competition adds complexity. But only if you decide to change programs for a better deal. Not if you are satisfied with the program you have.

Fine, as I was "happy", too, until or unless they more than DOUBLE their premiums (as happened to me) in a year, and maybe even stop paying for the meds you need!

For MANY, even perhaps for most people, Plan D can often be wonderful, if they have many costly prescriptions. But for many, it is often a crapshoot, and my point is simply that I think it should not HAVE to be so complex. Private industry... competition... I know the arguments, many of which depend on political leanings, sadly. SOMETIMES, it's better for the CONSUMER if they do not have to wade through so many "choices".

I harbor NO political leanings, per se; I simply like things that work and do the job best.

Vermonter

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1190 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/13/2007 4:11 PM
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<<For MANY, even perhaps for most people, Plan D can often be wonderful, if they have many costly prescriptions. But for many, it is often a crapshoot, and my point is simply that I think it should not HAVE to be so complex. Private industry... competition... I know the arguments, many of which depend on political leanings, sadly. SOMETIMES, it's better for the CONSUMER if they do not have to wade through so many "choices".

I harbor NO political leanings, per se; I simply like things that work and do the job best.

Vermonter
>>


Welcome to the world of means tested entitlements, Vermonter. Democrats wrang their hands about low income people who couldn't afford to buy meds ---- those people, the genuinely impoverished, get their meds for little or nothing in the way of premiums, fees, co-payments or deductibles. Nobody said that the well off middle class retiree like yourself should get a free ride.


The program is structured to give middle class retirees like yourself a substantial incentive to buy into the program and help support it financially. Instead of REQUIRING you to buy into it whether you like it or not, you are given a choice, which you are using to decide not to participate.


So what's your complaint? You are not participating. That's the only choice you really have to make. I don't understand why you aren't HAPPY with that option, rather than being compelled to participate in a program you don't like.



Believe me, tens of millions of working people would like to have the chance to opt out of Social Security and quit paying taxes that make their way to you as benefits each month. THOSE people have something to complain about, in my view. You do not.




Seattle Pioneer

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Author: Imaginistics Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1191 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/13/2007 4:37 PM
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Pioneer,

I think you're right that his ability to opt out is a positive for him.

On the other hand, if you are trying to suggest that the poor wish Social Security didn't exist, I beg to differ...most of them are glad that there is at least one program in place that helps reduce (not by enough, but reduce some) the poverty among our less off elders in this country.

And we have a right to complain if our govt refuses to negotiate rates..we elect THEM to represent US, not to represent the pharmaceutical industry, and they explicitly rule out negotiating the best rate for pharmaceuticals? We've every right to be outraged about that part, at least..

Imag

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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1192 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/13/2007 4:39 PM
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"Logical from your perspective, maybe, but, again, not for many, many 65+ people who may never have even HEARD of a lot of these companies, or who may never have "worked with" ANY such companies, especially their first time!"

Vermonter, I presume you have Medicare coverage. Who provides your Part B supplemental?

Do they do a good job? What Part D plans do they offer? If their plan is cost effective why not use them?

Did you work for an employer with health insurance? Who administered their plan? An insurance company? Did they do a good job? Service OK on the 800 number? Claims paid on time? etc etc. Do they offer Part D. Why not buy from them?

When you bought auto insurance last time, did you really talk to hundreds of suppliers to get the very best deal? Come on. No one shops for insurance that way. It is a personal relationship business. You buy from someone you know and trust if you can.

Its only a zoo is you make it so. If you go shopping for an automobile and start negotiating with dozens of suppliers life does get complicated. But who's fault it that?

Stirring up the troops with claims of uncertainty and chaos is a standard union technique to spread fear to defeat a contract. Managers know to reassure the troops that they can make the changes work. But in this case, changes aren't required. They may be an opportunity.

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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1193 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/13/2007 4:46 PM
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"they explicitly rule out negotiating the best rate for pharmaceuticals? We've every right to be outraged about that part, at least.."

Yes, imag. We know the veterans adminstration is able to negotiate rates with drug suppliers and does quite well with it.

We also know that Hillary Clinton's effort to reform health care last time around was defeated by a massive multi-billion dollar ad/lobbyist program from the drug/insurance/healthcare industry.

You can defeat an entrenched lobby only with strong grass roots support.

In crafting the Part D coverage, Congress was mindful of the possible opposition of those same interests and crafted a law they could support. Changing some of those provisions might be possible in time, but I don't think it will be easy.

These are typical practical minded politics. Compromises are made to get the necessary votes. Some terrible. Some not too bad. This one is at least functional. And in return for premiums it does save many of the elderly some money on their drug costs.

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Author: vkg Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1194 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/13/2007 5:14 PM
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The prescription plan is a major give away to the pharmaceutical companies. Included is a ban on Medicare negotiating drug prices. It only passed because of a very coercive vote which violated many Congressional rules.

Debra

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1195 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/13/2007 6:39 PM
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<<The prescription plan is a major give away to the pharmaceutical companies. Included is a ban on Medicare negotiating drug prices. It only passed because of a very coercive vote which violated many Congressional rules.

Debra
>>


In the 1965 Congressional contest to enact Medicare, it was DEMOCRATS who agreed to pretty much pay the going rate to doctors and hospitals in order to gain the political support of doctors and hospitals. No such deal, no Medicare.

In the early 1980s, Democrats went back and rewrote that deal, giving docotors and hospitals only minimal reimbursement rates that some don't accept at all, and which results in costs being shifted to private paying patients.


In short, Democrats made the same deal in 1965 that Republicans did to get the drug coverage passed. I don't doubt that that deal will be cheapened in the years ahead, since Democrats want to buy services, but not to pay a fair rate for them.


You have spent too much time listening to left wingers complain about the facts of life of politics.




Seattle Pioneer

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1196 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/13/2007 6:45 PM
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<<On the other hand, if you are trying to suggest that the poor wish Social Security didn't exist, I beg to differ...most of them are glad that there is at least one program in place that helps reduce (not by enough, but reduce some) the poverty among our less off elders in this country.

>>



There an argument for paying a stipend to pay the costs of the indigent elderly, and for their health care, too. But not for paying generous benefits for the well off middle class with other assets and income, in my opinion, especially when other people are paying the bill.


In short, I favor sharply means testing Social Security and Medicare. Part D Medicare is a good example of how that means testing can be done. As I understand it, the rest of Medicare is being means tested pretty much as we speak, with well off people being charged substantially more than the indigent.


We need to do the same to Social Security in order to eliminate further tax increases on working people as the 'boomer generation threatens to overwhelm Medicare and Social Security.


I might add that at age 57, I would be one of those people means tested out of benefits.


Why pay benefits to people who don't need them?




Seattle Pioneer

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Author: Imaginistics Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1197 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/14/2007 12:30 AM
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pauleckler,

I'm not going to agree with you nor disagree with you about whether it was a "necessary comparomise" (I have my views, but I'm not sure they belong here) and that wasn't the issue in any case: the issue was, do the American people have a right to be unhappy about something with prescription: yes, they do have a right not to like the fact that
their government ruled out any negotiating for the best price, even if you (wish to) believe it was "unavoidable".

Seattle Pioneer, I notice not a single person mentioned the word Republican before you, why make this into a fight over "who is worse, the Democrats in 1965 or undid in 1985, or what the Republicans did (with enough support from Democrats) coming into effect in 2006. It's not just the fact that two wrongs don't make a right, it's the very partisan tone of your posts. Did a single person say a single word on this board saying "The Democrats are 100% innocent"? No, no such statement was made. There is the Political Asylum board if you insist on "but the Democrats are worse" posts.

If this keeps up I'm taking a vacation from this board, as I'd hate to resort to ignoring individuals' posts, though I'd do it as a last resort. I (and everyone else here so far) has refrained from "The Republicans are worse" posts here, you can refrain maybe from "The Democrats are evil/worse/worst" posts perhaps...? And we can talk about what retirees need (or what we think retirees deserve) without getting into partisan battles about which half of our wonderful (not!) political elite system is better/worse..? I think that would be more productive, constructive, and helpful to all in Retire Well on Less.

Imag

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1198 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/14/2007 12:42 AM
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<< they do have a right not to like the fact that
their government ruled out any negotiating for the best price, even if you (wish to) believe it was "unavoidable".

>>


You are certainly free to dislike that fact of political life as much as you wish.


<<Seattle Pioneer, I notice not a single person mentioned the word Republican before you, why make this into a fight over "who is worse, the Democrats in 1965 or undid in 1985, or what the Republicans did (with enough support from Democrats) coming into effect in 2006. It's not just the fact that two wrongs don't make a right, it's the very partisan tone of your posts. Did a single person say a single word on this board saying "The Democrats are 100% innocent"? No, no such statement was made. There is the Political Asylum board if you insist on "but the Democrats are worse" posts.
>>



When you object to paying the regular market price for drugs with the Medicare drug bill, and promote "negotiating" drug prices, you are using the Democratic talking points to object to this bill. So it is you and those raising this issue that made this a partisan thread. So your crocodile tears about this thread becoming partisan are ridiculous.


What I did was to point out that Democrats made exactly the same kind of political compromise in 1965 to get Medicare passed. For Democrats to complain about the same compromise being struck to get the drug bill passed when they did the same thing to get Medicare passed demonstrates their insincerity in raising this issue.

Perhaps you simply don't realize that you are using Democratic talking points and want to object to both Dems and Republicans using the tactic of political compromise to get political issues through Congress.


You are free to do that if you wish, but you expose yourself as being naive and foolish by doing so, in my opinion.




Seattle Pioneer

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Author: RetiredVermonter Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1199 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/14/2007 5:05 AM
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pauleckler:

I can see that we're just not on the same wavelength and not communicating.

Have a good day.

Vermonter

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Author: RetiredVermonter Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1200 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/14/2007 5:35 AM
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SP:

Nobody said that the well off middle class retiree like yourself should get a free ride.

Hang on a sec. I think you're under the impression that we're "well off middle class who do not need Social Security". Not so! I was laid off in my late fifties with no pension (just my own hard saved and rather small IRA), and my wife was a PART TIME teacher for many years, so she has no pension, either. Social Security represents a large part of our income, so we DO depend on it.

Welcome to the world of means tested entitlements, Vermonter. Democrats wrang their hands about low income people who couldn't afford to buy meds ---- those people, the genuinely impoverished, get their meds for little or nothing in the way of premiums, fees, co-payments or deductibles. Nobody said that the well off middle class retiree like yourself should get a free ride.

I have no idea what "wrang" means, but if you reread my post(s), you'll see that my main complaint is not about the Part D program, itself, but is simply about the NEEDLESS COMPLEXITY of the program, thus making it difficult for some of the elderly to figure out how to simply secure the pharmacy benefits being offered.

This is not a complaint about "Democrats" or "Republicans"; it is, again, an observation about the unnecessary difficulty inherent in a system put into place, regardless of political parties.

As others have observed, must EVERYTHING have to immediately degenerate into some silly debate over political parties?

So what's your complaint? You are not participating. That's the only choice you really have to make. I don't understand why you aren't HAPPY with that option, rather than being compelled to participate in a program you don't like.

MY complaint? Personally, I have none -- about ME. We can cope, and we're doing so. My "complaint" was about plan complications that cause some elderly to unnecessarily struggle (and some of them do, believe me) to figure out how to actually get the drug plan benefits that SOME ONE (Democrats, Republicans or whoever) apparently intended for them to have! Simple as that.

In other words, yet again, I was commenting about unnecessary difficulties suffered by OTHERS. Is that a bad thing to comment about? Does it have to mark me as some kind of political animal?

Believe me, tens of millions of working people would like to have the chance to opt out of Social Security and quit paying taxes that make their way to you as benefits each month. THOSE people have something to complain about, in my view. You do not.

And that has what to do with my basic observation about plan complexity?
I worked for many years and paid SS taxes for MY parents and others, too. What's your point?

By the way, though similarly not relevent, I suspect that many millions of us would like the U.S. to opt out of this idiotic war that's draining trillions of our dollars, too, but I fail to see the connection to Plan D.

Vermonter

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1201 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/14/2007 11:47 AM
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<<SP:

Nobody said that the well off middle class retiree like yourself should get a free ride.

Hang on a sec. I think you're under the impression that we're "well off middle class who do not need Social Security". Not so! I was laid off in my late fifties with no pension (just my own hard saved and rather small IRA), and my wife was a PART TIME teacher for many years, so she has no pension, either. Social Security represents a large part of our income, so we DO depend on it.
>>



You have other assets and income you could be using to support yourselves. Therefore, you aren't indigent. Why pay benefits to people who don't need them?


And you chose to quit working in your late fifties. You were and are healthy enough to work at some job if you wished to do so. Personally, I'd eliminate early retirement options from Social Security altogether, since they encourage people like yourself to quit working when they can't really afford to do so without government subsidies.

Early retirement is a luxury. If you can't afford it ---keep working.



<<In other words, yet again, I was commenting about unnecessary difficulties suffered by OTHERS. Is that a bad thing to comment about? Does it have to mark me as some kind of political animal?
>>


Life is stressful. People have to choose among hundreds of different boxes of cerial when they go to the store, too. There are hundreds of different companies peddling auto insurance ---- do you find find these choices overwhelming as well?



Sorry Vermonter, but your complaints are those of a spoiled child.



Seattle Pioneer

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Author: theHedgehog Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1202 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/14/2007 12:01 PM
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Sorry Vermonter, but your complaints are those of a spoiled child.

Arrogant b#tch. You're outta here.

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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1203 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/14/2007 1:19 PM
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"Why pay benefits to people who don't need them?"

Because we spent a lifetime paying premiums into the mandatory INSURANCE program.

Most of us would be glad to opt out of Social Security if they merely returned all of our premiums. (Most will be lucky to get back their contributions in their lifetime, much less decent interest on the money.)

Making the program mandatory and paying benefits to all regardless of need turns out to be good politics. All of us have an interest in keeping the plan going.

Cutting off benefits to the well off means that Social Security becomes a welfare program. Then the middle class will find reasons not to support the program and it will go the way of other welfare programs.

The Democrats claim the Republicans want to kill Social Security by making modest stock investments possible. But in cutting off benefits and converting it to a welfare program, the Democrats threaten to kill Social Security.

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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1204 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/14/2007 1:24 PM
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"There is the Political Asylum board if you insist on "but the Democrats are worse" posts."

Imag, I am willing to give Vermonter the benefit of the doubt. He did not realize he was citing an article that was planted to stir up the troops for political purposes.

But the facts are this issue is rooted in politics. It is tough to discuss it without mentioning that aspect.

Let's hope that good guys on both sides of the aisle can come together and resolve some of these issues rather than reducing them to shouting matches.

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Author: theHedgehog Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1205 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/14/2007 1:29 PM
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Because we spent a lifetime paying premiums into the mandatory INSURANCE program.

It's amazing just how many people have completely discounted the reality of the SS program, and now consider it as nothing more than an entitlement for "those people". This represents a level of mindshare manipulation that I would never have considered the government capable of.

Hedge

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Author: RetiredVermonter Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1206 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/14/2007 3:45 PM
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pauleckler:

Let's hope that good guys on both sides of the aisle can come together and resolve some of these issues rather than reducing them to shouting matches.

We can agree on that!

I get so SICK and TIRED of everything theses days being somehow interpreted by extremists on either "side" as simply the views of one political party or another. Let a Republican come up with an idea, and it's deemed "bad" by certain Democrats -- and vice versa.

If this country suffers from anything these days, it is the polarization that we see everywhere around us. If someone happens to come up with a view or thought that one side or another can somehow associate with a political party, BANG -- that person is a (fill in the blank).

How I wish that a third party candidate of some means and intelligence could arise. I know in my heart that millions of Americans yearn to see people elected who honestly want the best for our citizens -- all citizens, not just the very rich or the very poor, but all of us.

Vermonter

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Author: RetiredVermonter Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1207 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/14/2007 3:56 PM
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SP:

Sorry Vermonter, but your complaints are those of a spoiled child.

Excuse me? I almost spit my coffee on the keyboard when I burst out laughing at that!

Yeah, I'm spoiled. You have no idea how hard I've worked all my life or how hard my wife has worked -- nor is it any of your business, for that matter.

Life is stressful. People have to choose among hundreds of different boxes of cerial (sic) when they go to the store, too. There are hundreds of different companies peddling auto insurance ---- do you find find these choices overwhelming as well?

I feel a sorry for you, really, if, in your mind, the hard choices being made by countless thousands of poor and elderly, as they just try to get by, are comparable to "choosing among boxes of different (sic) cerial."

I'll refrain from hurling nasty words at you, in return, though, lest TMF censors choose to remove this post.

Vermonter

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1208 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/14/2007 6:04 PM
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<<"Why pay benefits to people who don't need them?"

Because we spent a lifetime paying premiums into the mandatory INSURANCE program.

>>



You are naive.


You should have known that the Supreme Court ruled a half century ago that you don't have any equitable right to benefits simply because you've paid taxes. The Congress is free to increase or cut benefits at any time, and there are plenty of examples of benefits being cut or eliminated.


And for at least the past third of a century, there have been abundant warnings and Social Security and Medicare were going to be in dire straights when the huge 'boomer generation started claiming benefits. A prudent person would not be depending on benefits to be maintained, and would expect benefits to be cut or eliminated in whole or in part.




<<Making the program mandatory and paying benefits to all regardless of need turns out to be good politics. All of us have an interest in keeping the plan going.

>>



Rather large majorities of Gen X, Y and Z don't expect Social Security and Medicare to be there for them. So thery don NOT have an interest in keeping the program going. They have an interest in avoiding paying taxes that will go to supporting someone else.


<<Cutting off benefits to the well off means that Social Security becomes a welfare program. Then the middle class will find reasons not to support the program and it will go the way of other welfare programs.
>>



Yep. So what? Social Security is already a means tested welfare program. Benefits paid have often had only a limited relationship to what was paid in taxes. We will get more of the same in the years ahead.



<<The Democrats claim the Republicans want to kill Social Security by making modest stock investments possible. But in cutting off benefits and converting it to a welfare program, the Democrats threaten to kill Social Security.
>>


They aren't going to have a lot of choice. That's especially true of Medicare. Benefits have been cut many times --- two examples being increasing the normal retirment age to 67 and making Social Security benefits subject to income taxes. The Part D Medicare drug plan provides drugs pretty much free of premiums, co-pays and deuctible for the indigent, but has substantial premiums, co-pays and deductible for those with even modest amounts of income. Just another example of how Medicare can be and is being means tested.



\Seattle Pioneer

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1209 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/14/2007 6:16 PM
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<<Life is stressful. People have to choose among hundreds of different boxes of cerial (sic) when they go to the store, too. There are hundreds of different companies peddling auto insurance ---- do you find find these choices overwhelming as well?

I feel a sorry for you, really, if, in your mind, the hard choices being made by countless thousands of poor and elderly, as they just try to get by, are comparable to "choosing among boxes of different (sic) cerial."
>>



While choosing your morning Post Toasties may be trivializing the issue, people make such choices every day. I added the example of buying auto insurance, which is not a trivial decision and which is comparble to choosing a drug plan.


And I also noted that the drug bill also gave people the choice of opting out of the plan, an option which YOU have chosen to exercise. Had everything been mandatory, you wouldn't have had that choice to make. So you, personally, have benefitted from the choices provided in the drug bill.


<<Sorry Vermonter, but your complaints are those of a spoiled child.

Excuse me? I almost spit my coffee on the keyboard when I burst out laughing at that!

Yeah, I'm spoiled. You have no idea how hard I've worked all my life or how hard my wife has worked -- nor is it any of your business, for that matter.
>>


I don't think you are a spoiled child. I do think that your complaints about how tough it is for people to decide on a drug plan in which to participate, and that it would be better for people to have no choice, are those of a spoiled child. That particular argument is a whine.


As I you have noted, you yourself have benefitted from the choices available in the Medicare drug plan, since you find it more desireable to opt out than to opt in.

It was not my intention to be personally insulting.





Seattle Pioneer

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Author: vkg Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1210 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/14/2007 8:37 PM
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You have spent too much time listening to left wingers complain about the facts of life of politics.

I am annoyed at how much of prescription costs are used to buy congressional votes.

Debra

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Author: RetiredVermonter Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1211 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/15/2007 1:29 PM
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SP:

You are naive... The Congress is free to increase or cut benefits at any time, and there are plenty of examples of benefits being cut or eliminated.

Yes! Actually, as I have said before, speaking of naive, I really, really wonder if Congress will forever be able to resist getting their meat hooks into the trillions of dollars people have invested in "tax free" Roth accounts!

When I say this, people immediately say "No! They can NOT touch that money! It is tax free!"

(evil smirk) Wanna bet? I hope that's true, for their sake, but...

Vermonter

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1212 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/15/2007 4:34 PM
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<<Yes! Actually, as I have said before, speaking of naive, I really, really wonder if Congress will forever be able to resist getting their meat hooks into the trillions of dollars people have invested in "tax free" Roth accounts!

When I say this, people immediately say "No! They can NOT touch that money! It is tax free!"

(evil smirk) Wanna bet? I hope that's true, for their sake, but...

Vermonter

>>


Heh, heh! Of course, they will only do it to "the rich" who have been shamelessly abusing the system. And it will doubtless be done to help "the children."


Like shooting fish in a barrel.




Seattle Pioneer

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Author: RetiredVermonter Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1213 of 1498
Subject: Re: Why the Part D Rx plan jigsaw puzzle? Date: 11/16/2007 5:41 AM
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I suspect we agree on this, at least.

Whenever a big boodle of money is lying there, you KNOW politicians (of either stripe) will be drooling over it...

Vermonter

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