Wisconsin's SeniorCare must continue

Sunday, March 04, 2007 at 03:33 PM

I haven't posted here in over a year... I hope Lee and Six don't mind, but this is something near and dear to me, and I would like people to know about it.

And, I may just start posting again on a more regular basis -- Bwah, hah, hah, hah, haaaaaaaaaaaaaa.....

Federal funding for Wisconsin's SeniorCare is currently set to expire in June. It seems that federal officials want it to end permanently.

According to an article in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 180,000 Wisconsin residents aged 65 and older are SeniorCare members. My mother is one of them. Mom lives in low-income senior housing, and pays $30 a year to enroll in SeniorCare. Because she is on the low end of the income scale, she has no deductible to meet and has only a small co-pay for her prescriptions. SeniorCare helps my mother stay as independent as possible, and she can actually eat food every day.

It seems that federal officials would like to have my mother forced into Medicare Part D. Besides being costly for her, Medicare Part D coverage for Wisconsin residents currently enrolled in SeniorCare would be costly for the federal government as well:

SeniorCare cost $140.7 million last year, with the federal government paying $45.7 million. Rebates on drug costs negotiated with drug companies brought in another $50.6 million, and Wisconsin taxpayers paid the rest.

On Feb. 13, [Sen.] Feingold told [Health and Human Services Secretary] Leavitt at a congressional hearing why the 5-year-old program should be continued:

"SeniorCare costs the federal government less than $617 per participant - less than what the federal government spends per participant on Medicare Part D, which is $1,174. This program costs the taxpayers less money, and I think it's more popular than Medicare Part D."

According to a transcript of the meeting, Leavitt said his agency wants "to make (Medicare) Part D work."

They would rather pay $1,174 per person than $617 per person? How ridiculous, especially since the benefit Wisconsin seniors receive will decrease under Medicare Part D:

Most Medicare Part D plans have a monthly premium, a $265 annual deductible that must be met before coverage begins and co-pays that vary, depending on the drug. Part D also has a specific list of drugs that are covered and a coverage gap that can make some pay 100% of costs, up to $3,850.
To their credit, Wisconsin's congressional delegation, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and most state legislators want SeniorCare to continue, and many are working toward showing federal officials "the human face of SeniorCare" before they decide whether or not to end the program.

Count me as being skeptical that "the human face" is actually going to matter to Bush Administration officials. Like they actually give a shit about my mother...

Mom's been invited to live with me and several of my siblings. She doesn't want that. She likes where she lives and she likes being on her own. She is able to take care of herself physically, if not financially. SeniorCare helps her remain on her own; her, and countless other Wisconsin seniors who would have to depend on their children if SeniorCare were to be discontinued.

If you are a Wisconsin resident, have family members in Wisconsin, or know seniors who benefit from Wisconsin's SeniorCare program, please write to:

Secretary Mike Leavitt U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 200 Independence Avenue SW Washington, DC 20201

AND, to Our Dear Leader:

President George W. Bush White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

My Mom says thanks.