Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Medicare Projected Drug Costs Double

Remember when Bush pushed his Medicare prescription drug plan through Congress last year? At the time, they gave a projected 10 year cost of $400 billion dollars. After it passed, it was revealed that the actual projected cost was $534 billion. The actuary who wanted to tell Congress the real cost was threatened with termination (I hope that only means getting fired) if he didn't keep his mouth shut. There were a lot of Republican representatives who said that they would have voted against it if they knew that it was going to cost that much.

Of course, there are the other problems with it. For example:

*The government was specifically banned from negotiating drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.

*Medicare recipients had to choose one of twenty-six different drug discount cards and had to keep it for a year, but the pharmaceutical companies could raise their prices at any time.

These alone should have been reason enough to defeat the legislation. I mean, how could the government and the people not get ripped off with a set-up like that?

Now, it comes out that it's going to cost more than $1.2 trillion! They are saying that it is because the old projection included years 2004 and 2005 (the years with the discount cards), for years 2004-2013, and the new projection is 2006-2015. Since the discount card years are less expensive for the government (more expensive for Mr. & Ms. Jones), the initial 10 year projection was low, because the full benefits weren't in place for years 2004 and 2005.

The thing is, is that in an NPR report I heard this moring, they made no mention of the initial lie to Congress ($534 billion vs. $400 billion) and made it sound like it was all due to an innocent little accounting change in the years included in the projection. They didn't mention that the administration has consistently lied to Congress about the costs of everything they have proposed.

Now, I know a lot of people out there think that NPR is some kind of crazy liberal media, but they're not. They are as close to straight down the middle reporting as you can find, but they are still following the rest of the media's tendency to parrot the adminstration's line uncritically and forget what was said previously. It is up to us as citizens to remember what was said last week, last month, and last year, and compare it to what is being said now. You aren't going to get any help from the radio or television.


Blogger Cori said...

Great Blog!

12:00 PM  

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