September 23, 2004

FORCE THE FIRST CHOICE:

Low-Income Nonapplicants to Get Medicare Drug Cards: The Bush administration said that it would simply send the cards to 1.8 million people with low incomes who are eligible but have not applied for Medicare. (ROBERT PEAR, 9/23/04, NY Times)

After struggling for months to get Medicare beneficiaries to sign up for drug discount cards, the Bush administration said Wednesday that it would simply send the cards to 1.8 million people with low incomes who are eligible but have not applied.

Democrats in Congress and advocates for low-income people have been urging the government to take such steps since April.

By using the cards, Medicare beneficiaries can cut about 20 percent off retail drug prices. In addition, low-income people with no other source of drug coverage can get up to $1,200 in federal aid. [...]

President Bush has repeatedly cited the discount cards as evidence of his commitment to help older people with drug costs. The new cards will arrive in the mail in the next few weeks. They can be used starting Nov. 1, one day before Election Day.


An important lesson for advocates of choice: you can't give folks a choice of whether to participate. Assign them and then let them choose to switch if they so desire.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 23, 2004 10:33 AM
Comments

Mr. Judd;

Yes. It reduces the transaction cost for the majority while leaving open options for the minority who actually care. As they say in my field, optimize for the common case.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at September 23, 2004 11:24 AM

A few months ago the expansion of Medicare and these cards was a huge govt increase that was going to really hurt Bush with small govt conservatives. Haven't seen much on this lately.

Posted by: AWW at September 23, 2004 12:00 PM

AWW: The small govt conservatives opened HSA's and gave themselves an additional tax cut.

Posted by: John Resnick at September 23, 2004 1:22 PM
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