Athena's Web Weekly Column
Week of Jan 6th - Jan 12th, 2006
The Second Wave Washes Back
Armed with all the advantages of hindsight,
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.
You don't think this is such a big deal?
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,
'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.
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.