Some members of Congress say the government could fix what ails the new Medicare prescription drug program by giving eligible consumers fewer choices.
Today, consumers are having trouble shopping for coverage because of the wide spectrum of plans, according to Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the most senior Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee.
“Congress should learn the lesson of Medigap,” Baucus said at recent Finance Committee hearing on the recent Medicare drug plan startup problems. “We should standardize the drug plans.”
Baucus, who was referring to legislation that created 10 standard Medicare supplement insurance policies, said adopting a limited number of standard Medicare drug plans should help seniors make “apples to apples” comparisons of different plans.
Testifying at the hearing, Dr. Mark McClellan, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said he has been pleased to see the establishment of plans that go above and beyond the original intent of the Part D drug benefit program.
When beneficiaries signed up for drug coverage, “most people did not want the standard plan,” McClellan said.
In addition, competition has helped keep program costs down and reduced projected costs by $130 billion, McClellan said.