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The Bush Record on Medicare
The Democractic National Committee

Seniors Lose

Just three months after Bush's Medicare "reform" passed and nearly two years before seniors see the benefits, the verdict on is in: it's no good for seniors, especially those with lower incomes. The plan will raise drug costs, push millions of seniors out of Medicaid, and reduce benefits -- all while enriching the pharmaceutical companies and providing a windfall for HMOs and the health insurance industry.

Seniors Lose Out

Bush's plan raises prescription drug costs.

Seniors will not see cheaper prescription prices when the plan is implemented in 2006, because it does nothing to control the rising cost of drugs. According to Consumers Union, "most beneficiaries will face higher out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs after full implementation, despite the benefit." 1

Poorest seniors hit the hardest.

Under the new legislation, the poorest 6 million American seniors will lose their federal eligibility for Medicaid, exposing them to substantially higher drug costs. They will face higher co-pays on drugs -- and that will increase over time as prices rise an estimated 10 percent per year. The plan allows providers to limit drug coverage, meaning seniors can actually lose coverage under the law. 2,3

The American people see through the Bush plan.

A Washington Post-ABC News Poll taken in late January found that 49 percent of voters disapproved of the new drug benefit, while only 39 percent approved. And 51 percent of voters trust the Democrats more to provide a real prescription drug benefit, while only 35 percent of voters trust the Republicans. 4

Special Interests Win Big

Bush plan gives billions to special interests.

The Bush plan makes it illegal for the government to negotiate drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry, which results in a windfall of $139 billion for drug companies. HMOs and health insurers will receive $46 billion in incentives just for agreeing to participate in the plan. And employers can reduce benefits or increase retirees' premiums without losing $89 billion in tax breaks and subsidies. 5

The White House's $135 billion lie to Congress.

The Administration has admitted that the $400 billion cost of the bill is 35 percent too low. Administration sources admitted that "it was an open secret" that the bill would be more expensive even though President Bush publicly not to sign anything that exceeded $400 billion. 6

Scandals Mar Bill's Passage

Republican mired in bribery scandal to pass the bill.

Shortly after passage, Rep. Nick Smith (R-MI) disclosed that GOP House leadership members had promised to funnel $100,000 to his son's upcoming election campaign if he supported the bill. The Ethics committee has launched a formal inquiry that could result in removal of members. 7

More scandal: Bush media consultant profits off taxpayer dollars.

Medicare officials hired a major attack-ad media firm to purchase airtime for ads touting the benefits of Bush's Medicare plan. The firm produced the infamous "RATS" ad from the 2000 Bush/Cheney campaign and also will coordinate ad buys for the 2004 Bush/Cheney reelection campaign. 8

1 Consumers Union, Medicare Prescription Drugs, 11/17/03;
2 Center on Budget and Policy Priorities;
3 Center for American Progress Medicare Roundtable;
4 Washington Post, 1/15-18/04;
5 In These Times, 1/5/04; New York Times, 2/3/04; USA Today, 11/25/03; National Journal, 1/21/04;
6 Washington Post, 1/31/04; Boston Globe,1/30/04;
7 Hotline, 12/5/03; AP, 3/18/04;
8 St. Petersburg Times, 2/10/04; Washington Post, 9/13/00; Chicago Tribune, 11/3/03

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