Another day--another very negative news story about the new Medicare "Part D" prescription drug benefit, this time from the Washington Post, where Ceci Connolly explains that even the very poor Americans targeted by the program are avoiding it like a cobra in a pill bottle.
This finding is entirely in character with the benefit's terrible history. Even back when it was new and shiny, and basically involved handing out prescription discount cards without premiums or other costs to beneficiaries, seniors didn't like or trust the new program. The incredibly botched roll-out of the full Part D ball of twine has entrenched the perception of the program as a classic bureaucratic boondoggle, to the point that people who really need the benefit don't much want it. (Check out TPMCafe's subsite, Drug Bill Debacle, for ongoing lowlights).
It takes a special breed of public officials to design and deliver a new entitlement program that nobody likes. Really, really special. --