The Medicare drug coverage plan is nothing but a big, fat giveaway of tax-payer dollars to Big Pharm. Many seniors will end up worse off than they were (as you note about your relative), and most will benefit only slightly (compared to how the drug companies are going to benefit!
The bill was just barely passed by Congress in the middle of the night, under highly irregular circumstances; once it passed, we found out that the Shrub administration lied through its collective teeth about the cost of the program (it's going to cost about twice what they originally said it would), in order to get the very reluctant Congresss to pass it; and Tom Scully, the man who was
the head of CMS and responsible for developing the rules for the new program, left CMS while the ink was still drying on the rules to take a cushy, new, better-paying job in one of the Big Pharm companies (I forget which one). The new head of CMS, Mark McClellan, is the brother of Scott McClellan, Shrub's official White House spokesperson (they certainly are clannish over there at the White House, aren't they?)
This is what you get when you let the Repugs run the government ...