Athena's Web Weekly Column

Week of Jan 6th - Jan 12th, 2006

The Second Wave Washes Back

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  Armed with all the advantages of hindsight,
Medicare card

Medicare card

we gain a short summit in our trail where we can pause and appreciate the view of the landscape now behind us. In the Nov. 25th edition of the Web, we spoke of two alignments occurring on Dec. 31st in the national horoscope of the United States of America. Uranus was squaring the US Ascendant, while Pluto was squaring the US Midheaven. These are two powerful outer planets making hard aspects to sensitive points in the US map. What happened?

  Dec. 31st/Jan. 1st was the end of the old and the beginning of the new. No, I'm not talking about the New Year. Millions of older Americans gained access to government-subsidized prescription drugs on Jan. 1st with the long-awaited expansion of Medicare. Uranus is the planet of change. In a hard aspect, it represents difficult transitions bringing with it many unwelcome elements. Pluto is the planet of drugs, insurance companies, and high finance. Historically (see Nov. 25th column), Pluto squaring the US Midheaven has uncovered layers of governmental corruption.
Bush signing new Medicare Bill into law

Bush signing Medicare Bill into law

With the 'birth' of this new expansion of Medicare on Jan. 1st, 2006, these two planets are being 'locked' into these squares to the US chart, another way of saying that they are building in some long term problems with the whole system. This is the first of three passes as Pluto squares the US Midheaven. What national drama will unfold on July 8th and October 30, 2006?

  You don't think this is such a big deal?

Medicare options

Medicare options

  This is only the biggest expansion of Medicare in its 40 year history, with private insurance plans being subsidized by the government, with a federal cost estimated at $724 billion in the first ten years. As the president of the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York said,

   -NYT 1/1/6

  'There's a plethora of potential problems...'

  Tens of thousands of people who signed up for the benefit have yet to receive their identification cards. In some cases, people have already been assigned to plans located far from their homes.
Big Bucks- either way

Big Bucks- any way you look at it

Some people signed up for the free prescription drug plan, not realizing that they would be automatically ejected from their H.M.O.'s. Those folks now face higher costs for hospital care and doctor's visits in their traditional program. Some people have received a letter from the government, stating that the applicant has yet to be approved by the government, but that they may use the letter as identification. However, if the government later decides that they are not eligible, they must pay for whatever medications they have taken retroactively. Many of these letters will not reach their intended recipients anyway, as mail delivery is notoriously spotty in some poor neighborhoods. Uranus is the planet of schema: blueprints, diagrams, outlines or software development. It is complex systems and networking. Under hard aspects, these networks don't mesh well.

  While some of the insurance companies are going to great lengths to help facilitate this transition, the changeover is already showing signs of not being a smooth one. Those needing prescriptions are dependent upon a steady supply of these medications, and that process may be interrupted over the next few days, weeks, and months. The celestial history is that this privatization will become a lucrative slush fund at the poor's expense.

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