More On Bush’s Bad Medicine

Deroy Murdock has a good column in NRO on the Medicare prescription drug bill’s recipe for big government. The "reform" bill adds 654 pages of complex regulations to the already bloated Medicare bureaucracy while adding $7.5 trillion in unfunded liabilities to the federal government.

Moreover, this bill a strategic capitulation to the Democrats that will only hurt the GOP in the future:

If this sounds paranoid, consider Kennedy’s June 18 statement to CNN’s Judy Woodruff: "When we get this as a down payment, we’re going to come back again and again and again…" Kennedy’s fellow Democrats will demand higher expenditures, lower premiums, and slashed deductibles. And if Republicans object, Democrats will accuse them of orchestrating Granny’s slow, painful, prescription-free demise.

Despite the GOP’s allergy to principle, seniors seem unimpressed. A June 23 Galen Institute/Zogby survey found that 74 percent of those with drug insurance rate the Senate plan worse than their current coverage. Also, this benefit would not begin until January 1, 2006, 60 weeks after the November 2004 elections. The GOP’s hurry-up-and-wait strategy is reckless policy and dubious politics.

The prescription drug bill will raise prescription and health care costs for the rest of the nation, an effect that will hurt the GOP in the future. The Medicare bill on the table expands the federal government, takes choice away from the system, and masks the real costs of health care behind a wall of little more than platitudes. Such legislation is poor policy that puts the needs of the short-term over the long-term health and financial interests of the country.

Unfortunately, the President is bowing to political pressure rather than pushing for real reform. If the President and Congressional Republicans pushed for real choice they could win – it’s sad that they are unwilling to stand for real free-market reforms that would do more to lower the costs of health care and increase the ability for Americans to find health care that meets their needs at the best price.

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