Medicare Part D scam

The following is excerpted from a letter sent to President Bush with copies to Sens. Schumer and Clinton of New York.

I am just one of the people who will be losing Medicaid Medicine Coverage because of Medicare Reform Bill S1. Starting on Jan. 1, 2006, several million people, some like me who are covered by Medicare and Medicaid together, will be receiving medicine coverage through Medicare Part D after losing Medicaid Medicine Coverage.

While Part D does offer lower costs for people on limited income like myself, there are still out of the pocket expenses. Also some drugs are exempt from coverage.

I currently am taking 10 medications — five of them brand name for which no generic is marketed, and five generic. One is not covered and costs $118 a month.

The out of pocket expenses for me will be $146 a month.

My current Social Security benefits are $567 a month. After basic necessities — rent, food and transportation — I have a grand total of $15.54 a month. That doesn’t even leave room for laundry detergent, fabric softener and an occasional takeout meal. Obviously with only $15.43 “extra” I cannot afford $146 for my medicine.

I am not in this situation by myself. In 2002, 8 percent of those on Medicare, 8 percent of privately insured, 26 percent of Medicaid patients, and 29 percent of those uninsured were not filling prescriptions due to costs.

Starting on Jan 1, 2006, I will no longer be able to get my medicines. This will mean hospitalization for serious conditions at an expense of thousands of dollars. It is not a very economical approach.

Kenneth BeSaw

Bronx NY

German elections

Regarding “Germany: Left gains in elections” in World Notes (PWW 9/24-30), there is additional information. The DPK (German Communist Party) had called on left forces, almost as soon as the party was formed, to organize and work together with the newly formed “Linkspartei” (Left Party). It also raised its own demands, which it publicized in various forms, and some of its members ran on that party’s ticket. The DPK’s newspaper Unsere Zeit reports that through the party’s active participation in the electioneering process, the DPK gained recognition, more respect, new members and the paper new readers.

Miriam Pandor

Berlin, Germany

Poetic response

This poem I wrote in response to the antiwar actions of the military families and all the other individuals and organizations that are coming together to end the war in Iraq.

Mother (for Cindy Sheehan)

The wound is deeper

for the woman —

that life came

from her body,

and now someone

has taken it away.

All you who nurse

your vigil at

the gravesides of

your sons and daughters

are building shrines

of anger and remembrance

in the consciousness

of America.

At the barricaded

ranch of the oil billionaire

deep in the heart of Texas

she is there day

after day, grieving too

for the Iraqi innocents

covered by sweet soil

in the deep wounds

of their gardens,

made prisoners

in their own homes

by the Texan rancher’s

occupation forces.

She will not be moved —

her existence has

taken root in the earth.

Tom Pearson

Sydney, Australia

What has happened?

What country is this? Or maybe Earth has been inhabited by aliens from Planet Dumb. My country less and less resembles the grand and glorious land of Jefferson, Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall, William O. Douglas, Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, and yes, Bill Clinton — all individuals of high intelligence and humanity — great thinkers and leaders who had a clue! We Americans must rid ourselves of the terrible blight that has robbed this land of decency, fairness and compassion. Down with George W. Bush and his abhorrent cronyism and woeful lack of leadership. Needless to say, down with Harriet Miers, with whom I would not even share a brown bag lunch. I mean, she thinks George W. is smart? The early warning alarms are deafening!

Kelly Taylor

New York NY

Not as loveable as Peanuts

Like his counterpart Charlie Brown, Charles Schultz’s famous character, Michael “Charlie” Brown’s reputation will live on forever, and truly earned the name Blockhead. Much like Charlie Brown, each time he pitched his best pitch, problems too large for him to handle came back at him and knocked his socks off, displaying for all the world a defeated loser unable to get the job done. It wasn’t a matter of fumbling the ball; FEMA’s Brown never even laid his glove on it as it zoomed by him and knocked him on his backside, feet up, minus his socks and shoes.

FEMA’s Brown proved his cowardice at a recent Republican-run investigation, when he blamed anyone he could find when questioned about his own inaction and ineptitude.

The FEMA cronies gave the impression of a Snoopy lost in fantasyland rather than a well-oiled crisis management team.

Ron Stewart

Wading River NY

Robot calling

I got a phone call from a robot last week. It wasn’t exactly a robot, but a robot-like recorded phone voice from my health insurance company, rattling into my answering machine about pap smears and checkups for women my age. My machine cut off before it finished.

It says a lot about the state of our country’s profit before people health industry. I have no problem with getting an automated reminder, but how on earth do they know if I actually got the message, or understood it, or will remember to do what they advised?

Why doesn’t my primary care doctor or other live human health care professional monitor my care and give me a real phone call? That would be real preventive medicine with a heart and soul. But it might not be as cheap for the company as a robo-call. They don’t have to pay wages and benefits to a machine.

Renee Weisman

Chicago IL