"Virtually everyone who calls to say they've been denied coverage, they're shocked," said Robert M. Hayes, president of the Medicare Rights Center, a nonprofit that helps seniors navigate Medicare. "Trying to explain that this is the way the program was created by Congress angers folks who think it makes no sense. Many people feel blindsided."Thank the AARP who made a deal with Bush and the GOP to push this bill in the hopes of improving it later despite many Democratic protests. Also blame Ted Kennedy for his second or third time of agreeing with Bush and screwing Americans.
The coverage gap was one of the most contentious elements of the 2003 legislation that created the new benefit. It ends federal payments for a person's drug purchases once an annual spending limit is reached, resuming them only after the beneficiary has spent thousands of dollars out of pocket.
Many Democrats in Congress, long critical of the gap, are not waiting until then. They dubbed last Friday "doughnut hole day," saying it was when the average Medicare beneficiary would reach the gap. They and their supporters criticized the policy at dozens of events last week, airing grievances from seniors in public forums and delivering edible doughnut holes to the office of at least one House Republican.
"This gap does not have to exist," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).