Busy hands are at work trying to make political hay from the early stumbles of the new Medicare drug coverage. On the one hand there is the effort from Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) (newly strident – again – on health care; see below) and Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) to roll back efforts to entice managed care plans back into Medicare. Clinton and Dingell wrongly claim that this is pork politics. In reality, as I have previously written, 13 states (more than a fourth of all states) still lack access to a regional PPO. More enticement is required and provided for, in contrast to the Clinton/Dingell theatrics.
On the other hand, there’s the effort of a number of Senators to reimburse states who have provided breach coverage, primarily to the Medicaid beneficiaries they have previously covered. Never mind that CMS Administrator Mark McClellan has affirmed that Medicare will make them whole (AHIP’s Karen Ignagni and her member plans have also done this) for amounts Medicare should have paid. Perhaps a nice photo-op with Mark would be good. Do they really need a trophy on the wall?