Skip to comments.THE MEDICARE DRUG BILL: An Impending Disaster For All Americans
Posted on 06/14/2003 12:03:32 AM PDT by Uncle Bill
THE MEDICARE DRUG BILL: An Impending Disaster For All Americans
The Heritage Foundation
By Stuart M. Butler, Ph.D.
June 13, 2003
Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institute - a think tank - whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.
With the support of the Bush Administration, or at least with the White Houses passive acquiesce, Congress appears on course to enacting a huge new entitlement aimed at middle-income Americans. President Bush likely will sign whatever bill emerges. And as President Clintons Medicare administrator puts it In signing it, as he will surely be forced to do, he will preside over the biggest expansion of government health benefits since the Great Society.
The legislation makes a mockery of sensible budget control or prudent reform. Rather than combining steps to help some seniors with reforms to the unsustainable finances of the Medicare program, Congress reforms will reduce choice and innovation and impose staggering financial burdens on our children and grandchildren.
No Fixed Budget = Massive Tax Burdens
Congressional proponents of the legislation maintain that the new drug benefit will cost $400 billion over the next 10 years. This of course is merely a guess. Since the program is an entitlement there is no fixed budget. Moreover, the evidence from both the private and public sectors in recent years suggests that future costs are likely to exceed projections. But even if they are accurate it is not the next 10 years that matter. It is the years after that when the full force of the Baby Boom generation hits Medicare and Social Security. Within 15 years Medicare already faces a Niagara Falls of red ink. Adding a drug benefit without serious reforms and constraints on future spending means massive tax burdens on generation to come.
The bill is needed, say leaders of both parties, to help seniors who face heavy prescription drug costs. To be sure, many lower-income elderly do need help. But today about three-quarters of all seniors already have private insurance against onerous costs, and the pricing of that insurance does force seniors to strike a prudent balance between desire and cost.
It makes sense for our society to provide assistance targeted toward those who still face heavy burdens, chiefly because of their income. But Congress approach would institute a government-sponsored drug program for all Medicare recipients, not just those who need help. For several reasons that approach is unconscionable.
First, there will be powerful incentives for current and future middle-income seniors to forego private insurance protection at realistic prices in favor of government-sponsored drug coverage at subsidized prices. Moreover, corporations and other entities facing high retiree health benefits will soon find creative ways to shift retire drug costs to the taxpayer. The result: taxpayer costs will rise further.
Second, proponents are naïve when they claim that seniors will have many choices of coverage under the legislation private plans as well as traditional Medicare benefits. Hard lessons from the past, combined with likely design requirements in the final bill, suggest that few private plans will join the program. Mass withdrawals of plans from the existing Medicare+Choice program show what happens when Congress imposes regulations and controls in an effort to cut costs. And in an effort to curb a surge in spending, the government will no doubt gradually tighten regulations on any private plans that do join the drug program, leading to fewer and fewer private plans. It remains to be seen how seniors will respond to this. But when Congress last tried to provide a drug benefit that jeopardized coverage many seniors already had in 1988 the backlash was so severe that Congress repealed the legislation within a few months.
Third, despite claims that the new program is modeled after Congress own health program, which includes drug coverage, nothing could be further from the truth. The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) is open to virtually any private plan or insurer meeting some basic benefit requirements and consumer protections. Premiums for these plans vary and reflect the benefits included in the plans, and federal workers choose from among many competing plans.
No Serious Reforms, Fuels Taxpayer Costs
By contrast, Congress will determine the benefits in the legislation moving through Congress, and the government will decide how many of the lowest bidding preferred provider plans will be permitted to offer coverage to seniors in any area. Moreover, because Congress would take a prominent role in influencing prices and benefits unlike in the FEHBP the political dynamics would work in the same way as they do today in Medicare. Politicians would be under relentless pressure to keep prices down for their constituents, while drug companies, doctors and seniors would press for ever-more generous coverage. The result: larger and larger subsidies and costs to future generations. Thus not only does the legislation contain no serious reforms to control costs without undermining quality, it actually fuels taxpayer costs.
President Bush and congressional leaders had an opportunity to combine help for some Americans in genuine need with sensible reforms so that our children and grandchildren might look forward to an affordable and high-quality Medicare program. With the looming political and financial juggernaut of the Baby Boom generation approaching retirement, this legislation probably is the last opportunity for hard decisions. But rather that taking a firm leadership role in the legislative process, President Bush elected instead to send Congress a framework and then invited lawmakers to fill in the details. The result was predictable. The process is fast becoming a political feeding frenzy, in which short-term partisan advantage trumps responsible action. While todays politicians may reap the benefits, it is future generations who will have to pay for this unforgivable failure of leadership.
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Bush Urges Congress To Add Drug Coverage To Medicare
"Republicans and Democrats have distracted us with unending battles between haves and have-nots for decades. Over the same period, they have bankrupted the country,"
Senate Panel Adds Drug Benefits in Medicare Overhaul - June 13, 2003
"An influential Senate committee tonight approved the biggest expansion of Medicare in its 38-year history, with an overwhelming bipartisan vote to add prescription drug benefits....The bill would increase federal spending by $400 billion.."
Bush Urges Congress to Deliver on Prescription Drugs for Medicare
Of Medical Marxism
"The current system is financially unsustainable."
THE BUSH/GOP SMALL LIMITED GOVERNMENT SPENDING PRINCIPLES
Is the Tax Cut for Real?
"The Bush administration inherited a federal budget of $1.86 trillion, and now proposes to spend $2.3 trillion in 2004, for a whopping 23.6 percent increase in federal spending in this short period. The Bush presidency has far outspent Clinton's in every category. As Cato's Chris Edwards says, "[B]ased on his first three budgets, President Bush is the biggest spending president in decades." To close the gap between spending and revenue, said a report commissioned by the US Treasury, would require an "immediate and permanent 66 percent across-the-board income tax increase."
President George W. Bush - Biography
"George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States. Formerly the 46th Governor of the State of Texas, President Bush has earned a reputation as a compassionate conservative who shapes policy based on the principles of limited government,..."
DON'T BE FOOLED AGAIN
HOW CONSERVATIVE IS PRESIDENT BUSH?
Is the United States flat-out broke? Feds deny report
"the government's debt is actually "a mind-numbing $43 trillion,"
HOW BIG IS THE GOVERNMENT'S DEBT?
"Congress isn't saying no to anybody right now," said Riedl. "Federal spending per American household is now at $21,000 annually."
Increased Spending, Deficit Produce Political Danger for GOP
Honey, don't you think
it's great how President Bush
and Congress have spending and fiscal
responsibility under control. Yes, did you see
Laura kiss the President today?
"President ( ) Wednesday tried to build political support for his plan to bolster Medicare and expand its coverage to include prescription drugs, saying 'this is not welfare' but a chance to fulfill obligations to the elderly."
Daschle calls Senate Medicare plan step in the right direction
"After 10 years of effort we have been able to come to a point where we can begin providing meaningful prescription drug coverage to seniors," Daschle said."
We did it! Americans bought it! Hehehehe!
What is our mission?
"A return to a strictly Constitutional form of federal government will automatically repeal and abolish all unconstitutional federal involvement in states issues such as: crime, health, education, welfare and the environment. The Tenth Amendment will again be in effect, which will bar all federal attempts at legislating social issues. This will also require that social programs such as Social Security, welfare and Medicare be repealed."
Repealing Medicare? Hahahahahahahaha!
George W. Bush and the GOP. Repealing Medicare by spending $400 Billion at a time. Think big. Think strategy. Don't be a malcontent. Vote Bush. The collapse depends on it.
Storming the gates, repealing Medicare by spending $400 billion at a time. Strategy. Think strategy. LOL!
Yeah, it's a great mission statement. Now all we need is a new president who really believes it, a new Congress who really believes it, a new Supreme Court who really believes it, and Americans checking in somewhere for a socialist lobotomy so we could really pursue the mission to restore the Republic. As it stands now, it's all meaningless. I mean, check out post #49. Good grief.
The following should ring loud and clear now, even for the deaf, dumb, and blind:
REPUBLICAN CRYPTO-SOCIALISM - Alan Keyes - February 26, 1999
"What do I mean by "crypto-socialist"? It's actually quite simple. I mean hidden socialism. The basic principle of socialism is government control and domination of society. Things which tend in that direction are socialist by nature. Things which tend to return power, responsibility and control to people themselves -- as individuals, in their businesses, and in their families and communities -- are what oppose socialism and promote the agenda of self-government.
Many so-called conservatives today put forth policies which, when examined, turn out to contribute to the consolidation of government control and domination of the society. Whether it be targeted tax cuts, educational approaches that emphasize government dictation of standards, or other encroachments on our liberty, these policies are socialist in principle even when "conservatives" or "Republicans" propose them.
...The Republican crypto-socialists are more devious. They pretend that they actually want to give us something. Who wouldn't want a tax cut? But then when we examine the real body of the policy, it turns out to be socialist in nature because it serves the socialist objective, which is government control. And to that extent, "conservative" proponents of such policies are misleading us. They are hiding a socialist agenda in what they hope will be the appealing guise of tax cut language that will fool us into giving it our support.
One of the questions that I fear faces us in American politics these days is the possibility that both parties, or at least the leadership in both parties, serves the agenda of government control and domination. It appears that to the extent the Republicans professed for a long time not to serve that agenda, it was because they did not feel they had sufficient control of the key elements of the apparatus of power. When they got control of the Congress, they started to identify more with the interests of government itself. And now, for instance, they are doing things like proposing big boosts in federal education spending over the next five years, thereby consolidating the role of the federal establishment in education. Such moves totally repudiate the agenda that they professed to stand for as they courted our votes and we moved them into majority status in the Congress.
The true opposition in American politics appears to be between the socialists and the crypto-socialists. And this isn't much of a choice, is it? It is between the socialists who are open about their espousal of government control and power, and the socialists who are hidden in their allegiance to that principle, and try to put some other face on it. They are serving the socialist principle, but they are putting conservative clothes on the grotesque body of socialism to try to hide from us what is really going on."
Bushbot #2: "Hey Uncle Bill, are you actually Bill Clinton's uncle?"
Bushbot #3: "You stupid neocons just don't get it. This is all part of Bush's 'strategery.' You know how Republicans are with the media. Bush is just appeasing the media and THEN when he's safely reelected he'll roll back the New Deal and Great Society."
Bushbot #2: "Yeah, some people just don't have faith in Bush."
A fractal droid, a flexible robot structure, where each manipulator branches off into smaller copies of itself, forming a fractal tree over many scales (usually down to the nanoscale). Each branch contains a distributed system to calculate movement and minimize central processing. Many S1 entities use a mobile bushbot to interface with in ril.
George W. Bush and the GOP. Repealing Medicare by spending $400 Billion at a time. Think big. Think strategy. Don't be a malcontent. Vote Bush. The collapse depends on it.
"After a 9-7 party-line vote to close the meeting, the panel approved the spending bill by voice vote, according to a committee spokesman who declined to provide any other information about what occurred during the closed session."
Globalization Is Here- Why Fight It? - By April Shenandoah - June 9, 2003
"We are basically living under Communism unawares! Though we are still flying the American flag the One World Government and the globalization of Socialism/Communism is upon us."
Both Parties Are Weighed In Balance And Found Lying
By Chuck Baldwin
Food For Thought From The Chuck Wagon
June 13, 2003
When it comes to deceiving the public, it is obvious that neither political party has a monopoly: both are equally duplicitous.
For example, Democrats shamelessly lied and covered up for President Bill Clinton when reports of unethical behavior surfaced. They even attempted to sabotage and disrupt investigations into Clinton's unlawful conduct. With the help of a complicit attorney general and a cowardly Republican Senate, Democrats put Clinton above the law, above the U.S. Constitution, and even above the laws of decency. Of course, to date there has been no lawful satisfaction for the criminal activities of the Clinton presidency.
However, now that Republicans are in charge of the entire federal government, they are in essence doing the very things that were done by their Democratic counterparts. Cover-up and deception have become the norm for Republicans.
Consider America's attack against Iraq. President Bush's entire case against Iraq was its purported stockpiles of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). We were repeatedly told that the United States must attack Iraq before it attacked us. Therefore, on Bush's word, America launched its first-ever preemptive and unprovoked attack against a sovereign nation.
Now, everyone knows Bush either exaggerated the facts or lied about them altogether. There have been no WMD's found, and searchers are doubtful they even exist.
At the same time, President Bush blasted Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for attacking high ranking Palestinian leaders who have masterminded terrorist attacks against Israel. Talk about hypocrisy! How can Bush condemn Israel for protecting itself against enemies next door when he sends the American army half way around the world to kill Saddam Hussein and drive his government from power, even though Iraq posed virtually no threat to the U.S.?
Beyond that, the Republican Party is currently working feverishly to squash any investigation into the intelligence work that caused Bush to launch his unilateral attack against Iraq. Does anyone not understand that no investigation amounts to a cover-up?
If the evidence is as legitimate as President Bush has consistently maintained, it would seem that he and his fellow Republicans would relish the opportunity for an investigation to substantiate their claims. As it is, the credibility and honesty of this White House and Congress is seriously suspect.
The American people have no choice when they are forced to choose between Republican liars and deceivers and Democratic liars and deceivers. It is for this very reason that the American people must hold their elected officials to the restraints of the U.S. Constitution.
If Congress had been faithful to their oath of office, they would never have allowed the President to unilaterally wage war. Only Congress can legally wage war. By Congress refusing to do its duty to investigate the facts and to declare war on the basis of those facts, the war against Iraq became George W. Bush's war, not America's war.
And now, the same cowardly Congress that refused to do its duty under the Constitution, is deliberately covering up any investigation into the facts of the matter. Perhaps they know that the facts did not then and do not now justify what Bush did. Not only is this not good government, it is dishonest government!
Maybe one day the American people will grow out of their robotic loyalty to the two major parties and begin to demand that whoever is in office abides by the laws that govern his or her conduct, namely, the Constitution of the United States. Only faithful adherence to the Constitution can keep government honest.
As it is now, neither political party nor the American people seem remotely interested in promoting honest government. It seems they would rather be led by clever liars than governed by the Constitution. As a result, we are only a step away from constitutional government being replaced with the rule of brute force.