View Full Version : Another take on the Medicare legislation
12-09-2003, 09:16 AM
Today President Bush signed into law a bipartisan plan that modernizes Medicare with a prescription drug benefit that will help make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors and their families -- including more than 485,042 seniors in Iowa.
America made a commitment to provide seniors affordable, quality care. The President is keeping that promise by modernizing Medicare with a prescription drug discount card that will help them save 10 to 25 percent on most medicines or as much as $300 every year. Millions of low income seniors along with 84,034 seniors in Iowa will receive an additional $600 to cover prescription drug costs.
This historic law that modernizes Medicare after 40 years accomplishes much for America's seniors:
1. Helps to make prescription drugs more affordable. The plan provides prescription drug benefits for Medicare beneficiaries.
2. Offers health care choices to help seniors get the coverage they need. Seniors will now have more health care choices to find the health coverage that best meets their needs.
3. Encourages early treatment to prevent illnesses. It makes Medicare more efficient -- providing screenings that will enable doctors and patients to diagnose and treat health problems early.
4. Health savings accounts to help pay health care costs. It enables Americans to pay for out-of-pocket health care expenses through new Health Savings Accounts.
Thanks to President Bush's leadership, a bipartisan majority in Congress and a variety of seniors groups -- including the AARP and the American Medical Association -- support this extraordinary achievement for America's seniors.
AARP supported this legislation for one reason and one reason only -- it will provide important prescription drug coverage and financial relief for millions of current and future Medicare beneficiaries ... We are particularly pleased that the new legislation is focused on helping those who need it most: people with low incomes ...
William Novelli, CEO of AARP, December 1, 2003
By moving Medicare into the 21st century, present and future Medicare beneficiaries will now have access to prescription medicines and new health care options. Now, in addition to providing financial security when seniors are ill, Medicare is a program that will keep retirees well.
Tracey Moorhead, Executive Director of the Alliance to Improve Medicare, November 25, 2003
This legislation provides senior citizens and disabled citizens with prescription drug coverage for the first time in the history of Medicare and protects Medicare beneficiaries' access to the physician of their choice."
Donald W. Fisher, President of the American Medical Group Association, November 25, 2003
find the low-income benefits of this bill to be one of its biggest strengths ... [Seniors] will now have prescription drug coverage which is much better than I had hoped.
Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein, November 23, 2003
There are some Democrats who did not want this bill to pass simply for the fact that it may give President Bush an opportunity to sign a Medicare reform bill and I think that's wrong.
Democrat Senator John Breaux, November 30, 2003
Mark my words, seniors will see that the benefits of this bill are extraordinary.
Democrat Senator Max Baucus, November 26, 2003
12-10-2003, 08:09 AM
Thank you for posting.
This is a very sensitive issue and one that is going to be news worthy for a long time. I'm sure there will be a presentation from those who feel the bill is faulty. But this is necessary to properly evaluate the work of the Congress and the President.
12-10-2003, 11:24 AM
As this ABC News poll (http://printerfriendly.abcnews.com/printerfriendly/Print?fetchFromGLUE=true&GLUEService=ABCNewsCom) demonstrates, those who are the most familiar with the new Medicare legislation are the ones least likely to support it. This bill will please only two constituencies: the big government right wing and the HMO/Pharmaceutical alliance. True conservatives hate the bill because it is a gigantic waste of taxpayer money [virtually every conservative think tank in the country came out against it] and liberals hate it because it wastes money AND it provides little extra coverage. As Senator John McCain said, there is a good reason why the stock prices of the big pharmaceutical companies went thru the roof just as the bill was being passed in Congress. It's a gigantic transfer of wealth from middle class Americans to gigantic, wealthy, and politically-connected HMOs and pharmaceutical companies. That's the reason it is not slated to take full effect until 2006: they know it's a disaster and they want a chance to improve it before it does too much damage. It's just designed to give Mr Bush a chance to say during the election that he "reformed" healthcare. Fortunately, as the polls indicate, senior citizens [who are the people most knowledgable about this legislation and the people most likely to vote] are not falling for it.
12-10-2003, 01:27 PM
O.K... say it isn't the best form of legislation. And, they do have a built in time frame to "adjust, amend, correct, " whatever needs to be done.
Who has the "political" clout to get the bill to where both liberals and conservatives can agree on a compromise solution?
12-10-2003, 01:44 PM
Originally posted by NamVet4
Who has the "political" clout to get the bill to where both liberals and conservatives can agree on a compromise solution?
? I think the answer to that question, if any, will come after the 2004 elections.
In my view, we need to copy countries like Australia, which provide excellent drug coverage at a fraction of our cost. They do so, of course, by using the government's market clout as the single largest buyer of drugs to reduce the price of those drugs. This is something that is already done in this country by the Veterans Administration. However, a crucial part of the Medicare legislation specifically forbids the federal government from doing this. That critical part was one of the key demands of the pharmaceutical industry because they plan to charge ever-higher prices for their drugs and stick the taxpayers with the bill. This is also why the pharmacetical industry got the legislation to oppose reimportation of drugs from Canada. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are already going to Canada to buy the same drugs that are sold in America, but at a fraction of the cost. With reimportation banned by this legislation, expect this exodus of Americans to Canada to buy drugs to not only continue, but grow--as will an illicit trade in drugs over the Internet.
The federal government has the power to provide excellent coverage for our senior citizens at a fraction of the cost they now pay. It is done in other countries. However, other countries do not allow the pharmaceutical industry to dictate healthcare policy. As long as this continues in the United States, we will have an ever-increasing number of senior citizens with mediocre drug coverage and a gigantic [and fast-rising] cost to the taxpayers to foot the bill for all this.
And if you think it is bad now, just wait until the baby boomers start to retire.
12-10-2003, 01:56 PM
As a beneficiary of the VA system... ha ha.. that's funny "beneficiary", the drugs they provide are not always the latest and greatest. Their formulary is always in need of adjustment and update. I do agree - there has to be a way that the legislation does allow the government a form of price control on the drugs that seniors are required to have based on medical conditions. Subsidy is not sufficient enough by itself.
12-10-2003, 02:41 PM
From what I understand, the pharma corps like to screw with the Vet Admin. We need a single policy in this country with the federal government using its market power to keep prices lower. The alternatives are these:
1. Abolish Medicare;
2. Drastically cut spending for other big government programs,
such as defense and Social Security;
3. Enact very high income taxes [at least 60% at the top rate].
I know I'd like to avoid all three of those things.
So, what is really going on here. Well, here's a hint. In the mid-1990s, Newt Gingrich said he planned to let Medicare "whither on the vine" by defunding it. President Clinton defeated those plans, but Mr Gingrich is a huge fan of this new Medicare "reform." Why? The New Republic has the answer (http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20031215&s=cohn121503).
12-10-2003, 03:49 PM
OK SPence...seriously, this is not a slam, but a real question. Has there EVER been anything good that came out of a republican and his reign?
I feel as though, if G.W was to run out into the street to save a little girl that was about to get hit by a truck, you'd say it was it a republican conspiracy or that it was set up, or that he really should have never done it.
Can't you just give some credit to the repulican party? Maybe you have at one time, I guess I just haven't seen it. Look around you. Look at how well the economy is growing, how unemployment is way down, how Bush is coming through on his promises. Why are you always so negative to everything the republican party does?
12-10-2003, 04:18 PM
Why are you so negative about everything the Democratic party does, Jsarno? Concerning the Medicare legislation specifically, just visit the websites of any number of right wing think tanks and find out what THEY say about this Medicare legislation. [Cato Institute, American Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation are all good places to start.] Don't take my word for how awful it is. Find out from your fellow right-wingers what a revolting tragedy of special interest pork that monstrosity is. If you think only librulcommiepinkos are opposed to the Medicare Act then you need to take a closer look at things.
Look, I'm not a Republican. I'm a Democrat and a liberal and proud of being both. I liked quite a few things the Republican party used to stand for. Balanced budgets, for example. Richard Nixon created OSHA and the EPA. Both great things. Ronald Reagan realized his 1981 tax cuts had created unsustainable deficits so he raised taxes in 1982 and 1983 to do something about it. Reagan also was a staunch anti-communist, but also smart enough to ignore his hardline advisors who told him Mikhail Gorbachev was just another commie hack who couldn't be trusted. George H.W. Bush kicked Saddam's ass out of Kuwait and also took some small steps to deal with ballooning deficits. Fantastic. George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan. I loved that. Hated it when he stopped before he finished the job and decided to invade another country which had nothing to do with the war on terror.
There used to be a lot of Republican ideas I liked. The Republican party abandoned those ideas. Don't expect me to cheer when dozens of career public servants in the Environmental Protection Agency quit because they've been told not to enforce anti-pollution laws. Don't expect me to cheer when I'm told blatant lies about weapons of mass destruction. Don't expect me to cheer when people who exposed those lies are illegally attacked by the White House. Don't expect me to cheer when gigantic deficits are rolled up, drowning our children in debt. Don't expect me to cheer when 3 million jobs are destroyed and the White House's only response is bigger and bigger tax cuts for the wealthy special interests which have bankrolled Mr Bush's entire political career.
Those are the things I've gotten from George W Bush's Republican party. You like them. You can have them.
12-10-2003, 07:39 PM
Cato is really more libertarian than right wing.
12-11-2003, 07:50 AM
I'm so glad that I am paranoid enough not to like any political party :)
But, we still have this issue about medicare, drugs and who gets what.
I support a form of government price control, exercised through buying power and defined subsidies where applicable. I also see the need for open market competition among private health insurers as a way to provide the best available health care for seniors. I don't want to to see the government take complete control, but there has to be a compromise between governemnt involvement and private sector free enterprise that doesn't rape the citizenry.
12-11-2003, 08:41 AM
Originally posted by RedskinsDave
Cato is really more libertarian than right wing. They are libertarian right wing, as opposed to big government right wing. They supported Bush in 2000. I wonder if they'll do the same in 2004. They sure have not liked much of what he has done. Poor fools probably believed all that smaller government and balanced budgets stuff Bush talked about in 2000.
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