Random history lesson:
On July 30th, 1965, Medicare was signed into law as Title XVIII of the Social Security Act. Interestingly, Medicare was largely rejected by the medical field. In fact, in May of ’65, the American Medical Association put an advertisement in 100 newspapers calling Medicare “the beginning of socialized medicine.” The New York Times has articles questioning if there would be huge lines of elderly folks trying to get into hospitals with no place to put them. At the time, there were an estimated 19 million folks eligible for Medicare. So, Project Medicare Alert was enacted, hiring 5,000 people to spread the good word. By summer of ’66, some 93% of eligible seniors had been enrolled – that’s a feat. Still, the progress was marred by segregation issues. Regardless, the law was contentious, there were statements of oppression, arguments that there weren’t enough hospital beds to help the seniors, the start of the end of the free world.
Were there long lines? No. In fact, it went pretty smoothly.
Let’s fast forward to December 8th, 2003, when the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act (MMA) was signed into law by President George W. Bush. This is the Medicare Part D, which has had a net cost of about $549.2 billion from 2006-2015 (projected). Anyway, Republicans were largely in favor of the bill in both the House and Senate, and largely rejected by Democrats. House vote was 220-215, and Senate vote was 54-44. There was a lot of drama, but the Republicans won!
This is important, because come 2006, when Part D came into effect, their website, and roll-out was marred by numerous glitches. Wallgreens and CVS, among other companies, found that they couldn’t verify benefits. This was resolved relatively quickly in contrast to the ACA. However, several hundred thousand folks found that they weren’t in fact enrolled – and this took several months to resolve.
There’s a 32 page report by the Center on Health Insurance Reforms that was published in June of this year detailing the problems that faced Medicare Part D. There are a number of similarities between the two roll-outs.
While there are differences between the two laws with respect to complexity, issue, and scope, those differences do not supplement as a rebuttal to the failures of the ACA roll-out.
It’s fascinating to see the tables turned.
**I know that this post is a little different than previous posts as it does not have any citations, for this I apologize. At a later date I will supply those citations, however all of this information is public, and easily obtained via Google. Thanks.