Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Newsflash: Bush Robs the American People of Hundreds of Billions and Gives it to Big Drug Companies!

Just a joke right? No, just a rephrasing of a recent fact.

In 2003 Bush and the GOP dominated Congress passed the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill with a purported price tag of approximately $400 billion for the first decade. Only a few weeks after the passage of the Bill, it was learned that the Bush administration had illegally threatened to fire a government worker who had information that the actual cost of the bill was $534 billion. In the recent budget the cost of the Bill is estimated at between $720 billion and $1.2 trillion.

So why the big price increase?

One of the main culprits is the fact that the Bill specifically prohibits the government from bargaining with drug companies over prices and therefore the government is forced to pay “market price.” Once the ink was dry on the Bill, what do you think the drug companies did? Raise the prices, of course, as soon as they knew that their largest buyers would not be able to negotiate. In effect, a specifically anti-market, anti-competitive, and ant-capitalist Bill has now resulted in excess profits of hundreds of billions to drug companies. A pretty good return on the more than $300 million they invested in lobbying efforts to get the Bill passed.

We can be assured things will only get worse. Bush, who has not vetoed a single bill in over four years, has threatened to veto any efforts that aim to decrease the cost of the prescription drug coverage (let that one sink in a little and then go and repeat it to all of your Republican friends), ensuring that the feeding frenzy will surely continue.

Bottom line: the American taxpayers have been robbed in a way that would make the Robber-Barons of old blush; due to a Bill that intentionally rewards some of the GOP’s largest campaign contributors.

How the GOP is still associated with small-government, fiscal responsibility, free markets, and integrity boggles my mind.

J.S.

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