Pete Hisey's Handy Dandy Medicare Screed
Pete posted this awhile back in the BC Forum, but I just re-discovered it. It's a keeper:
"For when FRetards start with their "whiner" and "half a loaf is better than no loaf" arguments. I'm nowhere near old enough to have to worry about this personally, but this is meant to de-fund the fed govt. and is a total scam. Anyway, a Republican type came into AARP and said, why is everyone complaining about something that's free? Here's my answer.
Among the many issues you are not addressing are:
1. The Fed govt is specifically barred from negotiating for lower drug prices. In what other area of the government is it barred from using its buying clout to negotiate for lower prices? The answer is...NOWHERE. That alone will cost taxpayers billions and billions and billions.
2. This entire boondoggle isn't even funded. At most, the government will raise 22% of the costs, mainly through the deductible and monthly fees. The rest goes on the governmental credit card.
3. I did enough back-of-the-envelope math on this baby to figure out that AT BEST it will offer the average user a 33% discount. Certain catastrophic cases can save more. But keep in mind that drug prices are rising between 8% and 15% a year. In other words, in two years, when the plan kicks in, it will save consumers a grand 3%. At a cost of $40 billion a year. They'd be better off buying $40 billion worth of the most expensive drugs and distributing them to those who can't afford them.
4. Means testing. You better not have any money in the bank, or you don't even qualify.
5. Giveaway to the pharmaceutical companies. Billions of the yearly $40 billion (remember, nearly all of it borrowed and payable in the future) goes to these poor struggling samaritans in tax breaks and subsidies. Merck only turned in its highest profit in history this year. Most of the other big pharm companies also showed record profits. AARP did too, for that matter. And even scandal-plagued HealthSouth (that would be Bill Frist to you) turned a profit. But like the Energy Bill, the Iraqi War, and every other scam this fraud of an administration has pushed, payoffs to the wealthy and his largest corporate donors come first. Always. There are starving billionaires out there, you know. Starving to become trillionaires.
6. Did I mention that the House Republicans put a clause in that prohibits the government from using its buying clout to negotiate lower prices? Oh, I did? Did I mention that the people who put that clause in got on average $150,000 in campaign funds from the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries since the year 2000, and that the real heavy hitters, like Frist and Hastert, got closer to a million? And some get even more? A million dollars in donations. WTF?
7. Let's talk about the bill itself. Have you read it? No, you haven't, because no one, not even its authors, has. It's 1000 pages of gobblygook and it was revised, changed and edited willy-nilly right up til the vote to drop some pork in for certain votes. One clause gives $750 million a year to rural hospitals. Hey, they probably need it, since it's tough to attract doctors to rural areas. But what does that have to do with a prescription benefit? It was put there to get people like Daschle and other reps from sparsely populated states to support the bill. No other reason.
8. Did you notice the language about buying drugs in Canada? It was being changed every five minutes, so I'm not sure what the final result was, but it in effect prohibits states from buying drugs in Canada and then reselling them to patients at a major discount. Here in Illinois, our governor is going ahead with a plan to import popular drugs for state employees and retirees. This bill may stop him. And in a blatant plug for Blago, he is also about to cut off purchases from any drug company that is cutting supplies to canada to prevent reselling into the U.S.
9. The Republicans are conspiring to change house and senate rules so that this bill cannot be altered, or its funding increased. Remember that 22% figure? They know what a budget -busting turkey this thing is, and are afraid it will cost them elections for years to come. So they're in CYA mode. Much like the Supreme Court, when it handed the election to Smirky the Chimpboy, then said, THIS DECISION CAN NOT BE USED AS PRECEDENT. Sorta off-topic, but when the HECK has a Supreme Court decision not been, ipso facto, THE precedent?
10. The Republicans have not been shy about pointing out that this bill is really a way to choke Medicare and eventually Social Security to death by depriving it of funds. Putting artificial spending caps on Federal programs, particularly this one, then forbidding the government from doing anything to lower costs, is a prescription for failure. And that's what they really want. Waste the money so it won't be spent on effective programs, make universal healthcare impossible, run the deficits so high that they can slash all entitlement programs at will...that's the GOP game plan.
Is anyone here REALLY going to vote for these creeps in 04? I mean, I don't care for the fiscal conservatives who voted against this bill, but at least they stood up for what they believed in. I'm as much a deficit hawk as any conservative. Cutting the deficit is the best tax cut you can give the country, given that about 30% of our annual budget is given over to interest payments on the national debt (and that figure is going to ROCKET out of control very soon), but as a liberal I feel that the deficit should be paid off with higher taxes, not lower services. When Clinton pushed his tax increase on the wealthy through in 1993, with NOT ONE REPUBLICAN voting for it, the economy took off, taxes actually got lower in real terms, and the wealthy, who whined so loudly, got massively richer.
But so did everyone else. And that drives Republicans CRAZY. They want a rising tide to float only THEIR boats, because otherwise, the poor get uppity and before you know it, you have to start paying them a living wage."