Opponents Protest Medicare Confusion
Several told KOMU News they're not necessarily against the plan, but they're critical of the confusion it is causing. Seniors can choose from 42 plans, although several options are further divided into groups.
Picking the right one can be difficult before the May 15 sign up deadline. Eligible seniors who don't sign by then could be penalized.
"This should not be about who can figure it out," complained Missouri Auditor Claire McCaskill, who is running for the U.S. Senate. "This should be about simply and plainly explaining to seniors, "If you just sign up, you can get your drugs at this discounted price because we've got 43 million of you, and that's some real volume discount that we could get.'"
Many seniors said the plan does improve their ability to get prescription drugs, but they're still concerned some of them will be left out of the program.
"Seniors are afraid. They're frustrated. They're having a great deal of difficulty figuring out what they should do," added McCaskil. "And, unfortunately, the vast majority of them have not signed up. And many of them will not sign up, and they will face penalties the rest of their lives because of it."
Jefferson City pharmacist Dan Crider agreed, saying, "There's been some confusion. You're initiating over 40 different plans for people that qualify. So it wasn't just one plan, it was all 40 plans that we were trying to help these people with."
State Sen. Chuck Graham of Columbia said Bush could not go online to register for the Medicare Part D program unless he had help.