Thursday, October 28, 2004

Medicare premium issue skirts the truth

Posted by Craig Westover | 8:31 AM |  

A number of people have sent me variations of the following e-mail --

Read this carefully and pass along....... Before you jump to conclusions, read this, and have a great day!

Have you seen the John Kerry commercial in which George Bush pledges to help Seniors on Medicare and "the very next day imposes a 17% premium increase - the biggest in history"? That ad is a stroke of genius on Kerry's part and will surely gain him many votes among the uninformed.

I found it so amazing that I did some homework on the issue. As it turns out the 17% increase was not imposed by President Bush but was mandated by the "balanced budget agreement" signed by President Clinton, voted into law by Senator John Kerry, and was scheduled to come into effect during the Bush administration. President Bush had no authority to reverse what had been voted into law by Senator Kerry during the Clinton administration.

Once again Kerry is counting on the ignorance of the American people. Don't be duped by his mendacity.

Please keep it going !!!

In a victory for “balanced” journalism, the press has done its job reporting both sides of Medicare premium cost issue, accurately reporting the Democrat position that President Bush is to blame and accurately reporting the Republican charge that Kerry voted for legislation that mandated the increases. Unfortunately, this balanced view does little more than report two fallacies from which it is expected voters can derive the truth. has an excellent dissection of the Medicare premium cost issue. Their overall take is --

A Bush ad falsely claims that Kerry "voted five times to raise Medicare premiums." Actually, Kerry voted for maintaining the same premium formula that had been in place since well before he was elected to the Senate.

The Bush ad also falsely implies that Kerry referred to required premium increases as "a day of vindication," when Kerry actually was referring to items such as increased health coverage for children.

Bush's ad is meant to counter a Kerry TV spot that isn't much better. Kerry's ad falsely implies that Bush alone was responsible for next year's increase in Medicare premiums. Actuaries say rising costs and other factors account for nearly half of the 17.4% increase, and have nothing to do with Bush's Medicare legislation. And some of the costs imposed by Bush's legislation are aimed at providing increased benefits for seniors who choose HMO's over traditional Medicare.

The supporting evidence is well worth the read for those interested in healthcare rather than partisan politics. Looking at the legislation that led to an increase in Medicare premium costs, one finds virtually equal support from both sides of the aisle.

What one should take away from the analysis -- and for that matter all other discussions of government healthcare -- lies beyond the facts surrounding a given healthcare issue. Quite simply, the legislative process is not structured to manage healthcare on a nationwide scale. Healthcare management -- any micromanagement of social programs -- was never an intended function of Congress.

Replacing malevolent political maneuvering with good intentions bipartisan agreement makes no difference. Legislation is the wrong tool for “fixing” the healthcare system. That’s the truth that neither major party is willing to acknowledge.