Seniors frustrated with Medicare, they tell Pomeroy
Frances Timian asked for a bowl of soup for her dying husband. The Fargo woman's request sent health-care providers in all directions, except the hospital cafeteria. Hospital workers talked about a voucher, then dietitian forms that had to be fil...
Frances Timian asked for a bowl of soup for her dying husband.
The Fargo woman's request sent health-care providers in all directions, except the hospital cafeteria.
Hospital workers talked about a voucher, then dietitian forms that had to be filled out, Timian said.
"The poor man just wanted a bowl of soup," she said. "All this paperwork is just terrible. These nurses and doctors are overwhelmed."
Rising costs of prescription drugs and health care's mounting bureaucracy frustrate some senior citizens who attended a meeting hosted Monday by Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D.
Congress will inject about $400 billion into the Medicare program over the next 10 years, Pomeroy told about 60 people, mostly seniors, at Fargo's Trollwood Village Senior Center.
The House narrowly passed its version of Medicare reform legislation Friday on a vote of 216-215.
Pomeroy and Collin Peterson, D-Minn., voted for the bill's passage.
The Senate also passed a similar Medicare bill last week.
Congress' final version will likely be the largest expansion of Medicare in the program's 38-year history, Pomeroy said.
"I wish it was more generous," he said. "I wish it was less complicated.
"It's far from perfect, but it does represent a substantial beginning for seniors in getting better coverage for prescription drugs," he said.
A conference committee could reconcile the Senate and House versions by late August and surely before year's end, Pomeroy said.
The Senate and House bills call for Medicare recipients to pay a monthly premium of about $35, he said.
Under the House plan, beneficiaries would pay a $250 deductible. They would get
80 percent of their drug costs paid until their expenses reach $2,000. There would be no coverage between $2,001 and $4,900. After that, Medicare would pay all drug costs.
The Senate bill calls for beneficiaries to pay a $275 deductible. They would pay for half their drug costs between $276 and $4,500, all of their costs from $4,501 to $5,813 and 10 percent of their costs beyond that.
Congress' final version of Medicare reform won't likely simplify the claims process, but it should make the paperwork more worthwhile, Pomeroy said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Zent at (701) 241-5526