MEDICARE WOES….Here’s an entry from the It-Couldn’t-Happen-To-More-Deserving-Folks file:
Almost half of Medicare recipients dislike the new prescription drug law, and nearly 3 in 10 seniors and disabled persons say the issue will influence their vote for president, according to a national survey released Tuesday.
The survey suggests that there are “maybe a half-million seniors” who might swing their votes to Democratic candidate John F. Kerry and another “1 million to 2 million whose votes might be up for grabs on this issue,” said Drew E. Altman, president and chief executive of the private, nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation.
….Only 3 in 10 of those on Medicare believe that the law’s benefits ? partial coverage of prescription drug costs for those who choose to participate in that program, a voluntary prescription discount card available until the drug benefit takes effect in 2006, and new coverage for some preventive health services ? will help them personally.
Ths Bush administration could have passed a $200 billion bill that actually provided $200 billion worth of simple, straightforward benefits to seniors. Instead, they chose to pass a $500 billion bill that squanders the bulk of its benefits on sweetheart deals for corporate pension funds, pharmaceutical companies, HMOs, insurance companies, and unworkable privatization pilot schemes that congressmen (literally) fought to avoid being part of.
The Medicare bill is practically a model of the Bush administration at work: an initially reasonable idea made unrecognizable by deep frying it in a witch’s brew of bloated spending, dishonest accounting, fealty to big corporate contributors, crackheaded movement conservative ideology, and just plain incompetence. If Bush ends up losing the election partly as a result of a revolt of seniors over this bill, it will be poetic justice.