It's far from glamorous but the Medicare overhaul bill now winding its way through Congress may well have more of an impact on your pocketbook than any legislation in recent memory. For the first time since Medicare was created in 1965, the bill would provide a prescription drug benefit. Supporters and opponents alike are nearly evenly divided on the merits of the legislation.
Let me admit something right here and now. I have not read the legislation and know only the details that filter through the media. That in itself is not an accurate gauge of the merits of the bill. But what I know is this - millions of senior citizens of all income levels are making sacrifices in many instances to pay for prescription medications. The smart ones have supplemental insurance to assist in those areas where Medicare does not offer full coverage. But that leaves millions forced to make tough financial decisions on their medications.
I'll let you in on a secret that many of us share. When I am too lazy or too dumb to fully understand federal legislation, I just look to those I admire and respect and see how they voted. The opposite is also true.
So when I noticed that Sen. Edward Kennedy was leading the charge against the legislation, I figured right away, it must be something I could easily support. I hope that's not wrong. But I find myself relying on this cheap method more and more.
If Teddy Kennedy is so enraged by this legislation, I figure it has merit, it will benefit all people (not just Kennedy's constituents) and it will stand the test of time. Granted, some good conservative members of both parties oppose the bill as well. But their opposition is based on a number of aspects and not the philosophy behind the measure.
A drug prescription provision is sorely needed. It will be costly but it will offer the best alternative to those in the greatest need. And those who can afford their own coverage will not stand on the backs of those who cannot afford the coverage.
Maybe it's not right but maybe my shortcut method on federal legislation works. I know as far as I'm concerned, it works more often than not.