Wednesday :: Mar 24, 2004

Bush Hits The Trifecta On Medicare

by Steve

Itís a sign of our Bush-infested times that the Medicare trustees tell us that the system will be insolvent years earlier than recently predicted. According to the trustees, there are three major reasons why the hospital trust fund of Medicare will be insolvent in 2019. First, there was a drop off in payroll tax collections last year due to very slow wage growth in 2003. The second reason was the cost of the fraudulently sold Medicare drug bill rammed through Congress last year by the White House. And the third reason was the overall increase in health care costs. Bush and the GOP have their fingerprints on all three reasons.

Economists expect that any gains in the job markets over the next several years will occur in lower paying jobs than those lost the last three years. Against this backdrop, there isnít much help coming in addressing the first reason since wage growth will be a problem as long as Bush is in office.

As for the second reason, given that the Medicare drug bill Bush fraudulently pushed through Congress contained by design higher payments for managed care plans that cost more than fee-for-service Medicare, and no drug cost containment measures, the Administration is directly responsible for the impact of this legislation on the trust fund.

As for the third reason, it was only a decade ago when the GOP and the insurance industry told us through the now-infamous Harry and Louise commercials why the Clinton health care proposal would be so bad for the country. Nothing has been done by the GOP to deal with the health care crisis in this country since they killed that attempt except to wail about the costs of frivolous lawsuits and tort reform, and to trumpet tax credits for families to purchase insurance that they already canít afford. Tort reform is a part of any broadbased solution to our health care crisis in this country, but it isn't a substitute for such a solution. As a result, the GOP has its fingerprints all over that reason as well.

Looks like the Bush White House and the GOP hit the trifecta on something after all.

Steve :: 7:46 AM :: Comments (2) :: Digg It!