Monday, February 14, 2005



Two years ago, the White House and the Republicans in Congress pushed through legislation that created the biggest expansion of government in 40 years. I'm sure that wasn't in the fine print of the Contract With American, but no one's bothering to look. Now that a serious stink is being raised about the costs of the program, Bush is threatening to take unprecidented action to save it. How severe? No, silly, not a pre-emptive strike on the Capital - he's talking about using a veto:

President Bush warned Congress yesterday not to reopen the landmark
Medicare legislation that he pushed through in his first term and threatened to
veto any measures scaling back its benefits even as new financial forecasts show
the cost soaring over the next decade.

"I signed Medicare reform proudly, and any attempt to limit the choices
of our seniors and to take away their prescription drug coverage under Medicare
will meet my veto," Bush said at a ceremony marking the installation of Mike
Leavitt as his new secretary of health and human services.

Just as a refresher, this is why the topic has come up:

The Medicare legislation reemerged as a point of debate in Washington this week
when new projections indicated a far bigger 10-year price tag for the
prescription drug benefit than the $400 billion originally predicted by
supporters during the 2003 enactment of the bill or the $534 billion later
estimated by the government. The White House disclosed this week that the cost
over the first decade would reach as high as $1.2 trillion, although it
emphasized that various savings would bring that down to $724 billion.

An open comment to whomever participated in getting this bill passed - fuck you. You've mortgaged away the future of this country so that drug companies and HMOs could get their little handout. How the hell can any sane person take comfort in the fact that a program will only cost $724 billion in the next decade?

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