Using Medicare As An Issue Against Bush
When administrations get cocky and used to one-party rule, they sometimes make small mistakes that come back and bite their asses later. Tom Scully, who is George W. Bush’s administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told a group of seniors and health industry officials in Pennsylvania late last month that Medicare, one of the great success stories of American government, was “dumb” and “an unbelievable disaster”. According to a story from LA Times reporter Vicki Kemper, (whose story on these comments for some reason is not available online), several seniors in attendance immediately took issue with Scully’s comments and chastised him for saying Medicare was dumb.
And they were Republicans.
One can only hope that someone has video of Mr. Scully’s comments. Were I in charge of the DNC effort, I would be using that video clip to educate seniors next year to how the GOP really feels about Medicare, what GOP Medicare “reform” really means, and to beat Bush’s brains out on the issue in every state with a significant senior swing vote.
When you are fighting a ruthless enemy who has near-total control of the media, energizing the senior block on this issue is essential.
The simple fact is that this president promised seniors a Medicare drug benefit during the 2000 campaign, when he was riding the crest of budget surpluses created by his predecessor that he has since squandered. Now his administration and all the conservative think tanks say we cannot afford a comprehensive drug benefit, and must “reform” the system by moving as many recipients into private plans as possible in order to provide the promised coverage. Yet a recent study indicates that the cost benefits of privatization are being oversold, and Bush’s plan for drug coverage is still sketchy more than two years into his administration, with comprehensive coverage now being deemed too expensive while we fund huge increases for the Pentagon.
The problem is not with our wallet; it is with the choices and priorities of this administration. We have the money. Bush just doesn’t have the will.
The best TV commercial that the Dems can run in Florida and all the other key swing senior states is one that points out:
“While Bush hands out more dividend and capital gains tax cuts to the wealthy, he says we do not have the money to help you pay for your drugs, as he promised back in 2000. So instead of keeping his campaign promise to you, he has given tax breaks to the wealthy several times while you go without comprehensive drug coverage. You should not have to choose between food and medicine while the wealthy get to buy another vacation home this year.
A lack of money is not the problem. The problem is with Bush and his priorities. And you are not one of his priorities.”
Game, set, and match.