The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

On Medicare Part D (the prescription drug plan)

On Primary Day last Tuesday, just after I had voted but before I'd left the grounds of the school which was my polling place, I got into a discussion with a Democrat who was performing some election-related function. He mentioned (of course negatively) President George W. Bush, and I came back saying that he was better than our current President. This led to his mentioning some things Bush had done that, apparently, he did not like, and one was the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. To that I responded, quite truly, "I depend on that; if it hadn't been for Medicare Part D, I wouldn't be able to afford my medications." That surprised him, as typically conservatives (of which I assume he thought I was one, because of my pro-Bush remarks) think this was a bad idea. But since that discussion, I've thought more about Medicare Part D. And I think that, while it has its flaws, it has some very good features.

For one thing, it is the exact opposite of a "single payer" plan. Every year, I have to choose between dozens of plans offered by many different insurance companies, and in fact many of the companies offer a choice of plans, which would cost me different amounts of premium and with different provisions. (Actually, I don't have to choose, but if I don't do anything and just let my current plan continue, this may not be a great choice. Fortunately my County has a group of people [I believe volunteers] who run an organization whose purpose is to help senior citizens choose Medicare options, and they have been very helpful to me.)

The Government has some minimal requirements, but leaves a lot of freedom to the companies to design their plans, so they vary from relatively cheap plans with high co-payments to plans like the one I have (which, for only a bit over $30 a month, fully covers generic drugs with no co-payment).

There are two negatives, and one, the "doughnut hole," where, after a certain amount of drug purchases, you are not covered until you meet a pretty high deductible, was repealed in the Obama health plan, which does seem to be one of the Obama plan's few good points. The one other thing I don't like about the current setup in Part D is that only certain plans are available in certain States; this should have been changed, but I guess there are State laws that make this impossible. (If the Federal Government wants to override State laws, why don't they do it here, where the public is adversely impacted?)

Actually, the Government could do very well by looking at Medicare Part D and applying similar principles to physician and hospital bills.

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