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Medicare Part D Christmas Medley

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For Medicare recipients, it's not just Sparkle Season, it's Medicare Part D Season. By December 31, they must enroll or re-enroll in their Medicare Part D insurance plans to attain or modify coverage, reduce premiums, or avoid stiff and permanent penalties. I urge you to pour yourself a nice hot cup of cocoa or a good stiff eggnog and then to study some selected sites and sing some snarky songs.

Wait. Did I just say study? Don't I know that it's the holidays and that you already have countless things to do? Yes, I do. However, millions of people will be making these daunting decisions while making their holiday plans this month.

If nothing else, at least you will be more prepared when it comes time to help a loved one (or yourself) choose a policy, if this convoluted program remains in its current monstrous form.

Here's a little something to hum while you fix that drink. I realize this might take a minute, so I'll be waiting right here for you.
Hark! It's Medicare Part D!
Glory to the new drug kings!
High net worth and earnings ...WILD!
Record profits they have filed!

You're back? Good! Let's dash through the snow for some facts and fun...

I "sing" a lot in this diary, but I don't exactly "say" a lot, other than to express my opinion that Medicare Part D is a total debacle. I gleaned the numerous links from the 1.6M hits I got when I Googled "Medicare Part D." There's enough information to get your education started or to refresh your memory.

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Take a sleigh ride over to the Wikipedia article on the subject. Did you see the caveats at the top? They certainly reflect the general confusion that reigns on this subject. I especially want you to consider the sections called Enrollment, Costs to Beneficiaries, Plan Formularies, Program Costs, and Criticisms.

In the spirit of Christmas Part D, I wrote a little parody of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Before my song is a video featuring an unusual and haunting version of the song by Loreena McKennitt.

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Invest, Ye Merry Businessmen

Invest, ye merry businessmen,
In healthcare industries!
Remember these superior,
Stock opportunities!
To make a haul, it's happy hour,
With Medicare Part D!

O tidings of profit enjoy!
Profit enjoy!
O tidings of profit enjoy!
Next, guide your one open sled to the page called My Medical Matters, touted to be "A Simple Guide to the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage," from the web site of National Council on Aging. Poke around there for a while, but be sure to play the 7 Simple Steps game before departing. I did. In the end, I was still left with 54 choices to research - and hoping to find a Medicare Part D 12-Step Program as well! Here is another version of the game, called the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder, from our very own federal government. I tried, but I couldn't navigate it past the first few screens. Maybe you have better skills - or you'll have better luck, anyway.

Get a hold of your one horse before reading this recent article from the San Francisco Chronicle entitled Medicare drug gap will be even trickier in 2008 and this older one from FierceBiotech called Democratic win could be bad news for pharma industry.
The issue at stake is Medicare Part D, which House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has vowed to immediately revamp should Democrats take control after the mid-term elections.

Oh, really?

Uh-oh. I think it's time for another music break. The next tune came from a kind of "round" or "voice exchange" version of Jingle Bells I sang more than 35 years ago with my high school chorus. I have included some performance notes to help you imagine how it would sound this way. I also offer you two videos of the perennial favorite. The first is an unusual and highly entertaining rendition by the Tianjin University Choir. The second is from Warner Brothers' and performed by the LooneyTunes. Mine is in the middle. Part for sopranos are in italics, parts for altos are in regular type.

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Medicare! Medicare! Medicare, Part D!

Sung at almost a whisper:

Oh, listen, cartels are singing.
Oh, listen, stock bells are ringing.

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Jan Anderson is "finding herself" at 50. Jan was a bra burning, picket sign carrying, hippie flower child when she was young. She organized her first protest in the 4th grade - against the rule that girls weren't allowed to wear pants to school. (more...)

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