Bush campaigns for Medicare Part D, acknowledges start-up errors

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President Bush this week tried to rally seniors to the new Medicare drug benefit but also acknowledged mistakes were made during its implementation phase.

During a visit to Canandaigua, NY, Bush encouraged seniors to sign up for the program before the May 15 deadline. An uncertain transition period often follows the passage of a new law, he said. His campaigning for the drug program underscores its potential impact in an election year when many in Congress are up for re-election.

Meanwhile, Mark B. McClellan, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said the agency is trying to make it easier for Medicare beneficiaries to receive prior authorization from their health plan for prescription drugs.

Such efforts include removing barriers established by health plans for their prior authorization process. Some Medicare beneficiary advocates have said prescription drug plans are requiring Medicare to deny the claim first before the drug plan will consider it. Advocates also have said beneficiaries have been told a claim must be filed first under Part B and be rejected before it can be resubmitted.
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