Wednesday :: Jul 14, 2004

Medicare: Once again it’s Bush, corporations and the religious right


by soccerdad

An article in Wednsday’s New York Times Medicare Law Is Seen Leading to Cuts in Drug Benefits for Retirees has brought my attention back to the Bush Administration’s attack on Medicare.

New government estimates suggest that employers will reduce or eliminate prescription drug benefits for 3.8 million retirees when Medicare offers such coverage in 2006.

That represents one-third of all the retirees with employer-sponsored drug coverage, according to documents from the Department of Health and Human Services

As part of the prescription-drug benefits for Medicare passed last year, the government would pay employers to retain drug benefits for their retirees. However, the benefit provided by the company only had to be worth as much as the Medicare benefit and the Government determined whether it met that requirement. In addition, there was nothing to stop the companies from transferring more of the costs to the retirees. So a company could shift more of the cost to the retiree and still get the subsidy, in essence benefiting twice. The lobby group for this was Employers Coalition on Medicare. The donations of the member companies to the Bush campaign and/or RNC has been documented by Centers for American Progress

Let's review the Medicare Drug card ploy by the Bush administration. Again the Centers for American Progress in: Paying to Play were on top of this issue. Here are the lowlights. A total of 73 companies were chosen to handle drug cards, of those 20 (almost 1/3) have been involved in fraud charges. Those 20 companies gave 60% of the $5 million dollars contributed by this group to the Republican Party. For extensive details see the article.

The cards have problems on their own. When seniors sign up for a card, they are required to stay with that card for a year. However, the company can change the price of the drugs every week and in fact can choose not to cover a drug leaving the senior out of luck,

It obvious that these reports are consistent with the Bush’s continued efforts to support corporations, even on the backs of the elderly. But is there something more to Bush’s efforts to privatize Medicare than just corporate profits? Here’s further information:

Now whose responsibility is it to take care of (elderly) people? (...) It lies with their children and it also lies with themselves. That is, Christians should recognize that charity is good. But what the government is doing in order to help these older citizens is not charity at all. It is theft. (...) That is the moral question that Christians should face with (programs such as) Medicare, Medicaid. (...)
On August 14, 1985, Pat Robertson unveiled his ingenious program on how to get rid of Social Security. The plan amazingly resembles sections of the Bush Administration’s Medicare Prescription Drug bill passed in December of 2003. Robertson, however, outlined what to do twenty years ago as follows:
1. "We should say to all the elderly, ‘You’re going to be taken care of. The government’s going to pay you. Don’t worry about it. [You’ll] get your Social Security like you’re expecting, ‘cause you’re counting on it."
2. "There should be a gradual moving [up] of [the retirement] age to reflect the fact that we’re healthier and we live longer and people should have dignity and be allowed to work a little bit longer."
3. "The last thing we should do is to begin to let the younger workers slowly but surely go into private programs where the money is tax sheltered and over the years build up their own money and that would in turn, through the intermediary organizations, banks, insurance companies, would invest in American industry. They would buy plants and equipment, put people to work and it would help a tremendous boom. Imagine …$100 billion dollars a year flowing into American industry. It would be marvelous."

The Despoiling of America:

So Bush also continues to bow to the plans and influence of the religious far-right. The long term goal seems to be a dismantling of the government protections for the elderly and putting them at the mercy of profit-driven corporations

soccerdad :: 5:42 PM :: Comments (1) :: Digg It!