Medicare Lies and Propaganda: Bush Business as Usual
"There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again." --George W. Bush
Mr Bush knew that the Medicare bill strongarmed through Congress would cost more than the GOP sponsors let on, more than a billion dollars more than the 395 billion dollar price tag it was touted as costing. He was aware that 14 conservative Republicans would vote against the bill if it cost over 400 billion dollars over the next 10 years. So he lied to his own party as well as the rest of Americans. The bill passed 220 to 215 amid allegations of Republican vote buying, 54 to 44 in the Senate.
The Whitehouse threatened to fire it's own Medicare actuary, Richard Foster, if he told the truth that his figures showed the program to cost 551 billion.
MoveOn.org documents this all this underhandedness.
On January 30th Scott McCllelan, in light of what we know now, lied about what the President knew, and when.
Q Scott, to follow on that, are you telling us, on the day the President signed it and presented it to the American people, made it law, he either thought it was going to cost $400 billion over 10 years, or he didn't know how much it was going to cost and he didn't care?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, the President -- in fact, you just heard from the President -- we've been going through our budget process; the budget will be released on Monday. The President was briefed just, I believe it was two weeks ago today when he was briefed on this aspect of the budget and was informed about the new -- or I guess this was the first estimate -- that we put forward the estimate that the HHS actuaries came up with in that budget process.
The fellow that Richard Foster said threatened to fire him, Tom Scully, left his position a week after the Medicare bill he helped craft was passed; to join the healthcare lobbying firm Alston and Bird. HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson supplied Scully with a code of ethics waiver (askance Federal regulations and Health and Human Services code) in May 2003 to negotiate with healthcare related firms, firms with "substantial interests in matters pending" concerning Scully's post as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Federal agencies have been ordered to stop issueing ethics waivers in light of this case. Now only the White House can approve such waivers.
Representitive Billy Tauzin, who wrote the Medicare bill reportedly recieved a 2 million dollar job offer from PhRMA the lobbying giant for the pharmaceutical industry.
In the 2000 election cycle Republicans gleaned 69 percent of pharmaceutical industry connected giving totaling 26,707,861 dollars. 2002's election cycle saw 29,366,851 dollars contributed, 74 percent to Republicans. So far in 2004 $6,246,964 dollars have been contributed, 67percent to Republicans.
But it gets worse. The Federal Government supplied news outlets with tapes purporting to show reporters Karen Ryan
and in the spanish language version Alberto Garcia heaping praise on the new Medicare law. The trouble is, they are paid actors reading government scripts, not journalists. A couple of the videos end with a woman's saying "In Washington, I'm Karen Ryan reporting."
Kevin Keane, HHS assistant secretary for public affairs says that Ryan is a freelance journalist, not merely an actor.
It seems clear that if the woman is reading a prepared script she is an actor. She was paid with taxpayer money- to deceive taxpayers.
The Bush administration plans to spend 80 million dollars on advertising the Medicare plan "$12.6 million for advertising this winter..."
Your tax dollars at work.
The World STILL Says No to War!
Global Day of Action Against War and Occupation
Saturday, March 20
United for Peace and Justice is asking us to sandwich this important event day by scheduling a meeting with our Congressperson on March 19 (during Senate Recess, they should be in home districts) to advocate sensible Iraq policy , followed up by a call in day on Wednesday, March 24 to further impact our legislators in DC.
Help get the word out.
Posted some of my favorite radio sites on the sidebar just now (scroll down). These all offer great audio pieces. This American Life is a favorite; the show first demonstrated to me just how powerful the medium of radio is. We've all had
those moments when on reaching our destination we find the show on NPR is not quiet finished; then we sit , engine off, listening- the term "driveway moments" has been coined to label the phenomena.
It seems to me that the necessary descriptive powers that propel an audio piece offer the mind so much more to work
with than a visual piece, that the medium demands more depth by its very structure. Also, the mind seems more open
when not offered visual data, stemming prejudgement of the subject. Good radio seems to me sweetly subversive in that
it allows people to experience the life experiances and perspectives of others, reminding us that "People are People", no matter what our background, way in the world or genetic makeup is.
Explore these sites to relax and refresh the next time you consider, remote in hand, wading through the however many channels of mostly crap your "electronic hearth" has to offer. Feel radio engage your mind.
Third Coast Audio
This American Life
The links will open in a new window. Enjoy.