Bush's $800 Billion Lobbyist-Induced Giveaway On Medicare Creates Democratic Opportunities
Looking ahead several months, we know the GOP will run on national security this fall, even though the UAE ports deal threatens to derail that approach and focuses light on what little the administration has really done to secure our ports. The White House and GOP may try to run on health care, but their sole first term “accomplishment” is faltering and growing even more unpopular as time goes on with a segment of the voting populace that turns out regularly. Sure, there is a chance that the reviled Medicare Part D program can save money long term, but only if enough people enroll in the program and the government negotiates for best price, two things that haven’t happened, and won’t until the flaws in the program created by Bush’s whoring to the HMO and pharmaceutical industries are reversed. Just how much did Bush’s corporate welfare boondoggle cost taxpayers in the first decade of the program, compared to what a better program would have cost as a simple add-on to the current Medicare program? Would you believe $800 billion?
The GOP’s second-term initiative, health savings accounts, do virtually nothing at all to control costs. Who says so? The government’s own economists and actuaries. HSAs are really a tax dodge for the healthy and wealthy, and will effect so few people that cost savings are a secondary concern to the primary GOP intention of providing another tax break for their base. It doesn't help that the administration is already lying about HSAs, but we expect that. And the confusion behind HSAs would only make their usefulness even more suspect. Until the federal government does something about extending coverage to the uninsured and corrects the flaws in the Part D program, both of which will not happen until a Democratic congress is elected this year, America will make little progress in dealing with health care costs, even though these costs are about to consume more and more of our GDP in the coming decade.
It’s time for Democrats to come out this fall for universal coverage, and to fix the donut hole and eliminate the corporate welfare behind the Medicare Part D benefit. And as more and more is learned about the role that GOP lobbyists played in foisting the Medicare Part D fraud upon seniors and all taxpayers with the Bush Administration's full support, Democrats can tie the culture of corruption and Medicare Part D into a powerful narrative in support of health care reform and public financing of congressional campaigns this fall. Hell, even GOP senators are thinking about hooking up with their Democratic counterparts to push public financing this year, so the time is right for the party to get ambitious on both health care and restoring the public's control over its government.