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I assume you board Republicans support this massive new(49 posts)

I assume you board Republicans support this massive newOldEdScott
Nov 24, 2003 9:31 AM
Medicare drug entitlement, or most of you anyway. Want to share exactly why?
don't know, personally, but the AARP supports itDougSloan
Nov 24, 2003 9:44 AM
The AARP supports it. Any need to delve further?

Doug
By that I assume you mean it's obviousOldEdScott
Nov 24, 2003 10:01 AM
why an organization that stands to to dramtically expand its insurance business/profits would support the bill that's going to do it for them?

AARP's certainly entitled to support something that will benefit it economically, but it's arguable whether that support is in the best interest of its members. Arguable whether they support it either.
That's right Rush said about 30 - 40 members ...Live Steam
Nov 24, 2003 10:11 AM
tried to burn their membership cards in the rain last week, but had to resort to scissors instead :O) It was reported in the press as a massive demonstration by AARP members LOL!!

I haven't made up my mind about the bill. I think is probably a big mistake. It will more than likely inflate the costs for other prescription plans and eliminate certain drugs from coverage eligibility because they'll be deemed too expensive.
It was a HUGE demonstration!OldEdScott
Nov 24, 2003 10:33 AM
As massive as when the coffee shop was JAMMED with Clark supporters the day he announced. 50 people MOBBED him!
well, they do support itDougSloan
Nov 24, 2003 10:11 AM
Unclear on the nuances, but I heard an AARP representative on the radio unequivocally stating AARP's support. He did say that the bill "could be better" (what couldn't?), but the organization was supporting it.

I'm frequently torn between ideological and practical concerns. Ideologically, I'd never support this kind of government program. However, you can't do squat if you don't get elected and re-elected.

That's precisely why a true Libertarian never will be elected. The campaign promises list would be far too short.

Doug
AARP supports it ORGANIZATIONALLY.OldEdScott
Nov 24, 2003 10:25 AM
The folks who run it do. The AARP has become a BUSINESS more than an advocacy group, and their health insurance biusiness will get BILLIONS from this bill, probably.

The rank-and-file MEMBERS are increasingly appalled at the AARP bosses' profits-driven stand on this, since it runs counter to their expectation of a sound and intact Medicare system in the future.

Kinda like an out-of-touch union speaking for its members, eh Steam?
75-83% of members support, according to AARPDougSloan
Nov 24, 2003 10:52 AM
"Having said that, our latest non-partisan poll of our members (conducted on November 19th) finds that our members overwhelmingly support this plan-83 percent strongly or somewhat support. They are especially supportive of the help provided to people with low incomes or high drug costs."

http://www.aarp.org/prescriptiondrugs/informed/Articles/a2003-11-21-letter.html

Survey Finds AARP Members in Support of Medicare Legislation

November 20, 2003

A resounding 75% of AARP members polled in a survey conducted yesterday said that the proposed Medicare legislation should be passed because it will help low-income elderly and those with high prescription drug costs. Among middle and high income individuals, 80% were in favor of passing the legislation for this reason, and support for the bill was high among both Democrats and Republicans.

When those AARP members polled were asked whether they supported or opposed the plan, eighty-three percent supported it, and only seventeen percent were in opposition. Again, Democrats and Republicans displayed little difference in their support for the plan.

When members were asked whether the benefit would help, or hurt them personally, thirty percent said they would be helped by the benefit while just thirteen percent said they would be hurt. Thirty-three percent said it would have no effect. Twenty-four percent did not know or were not sure. These findings regarding the impact of the bill are not surprising given the complexity of the legislation and the uncertainty surrounding its final form.

Before hearing the detailed description of the plan in the poll, fifty percent of those polled said they had read, seen or heard a fair amount or a great deal about the ongoing debate in the Congress. Only 2% of those polled were very familiar with the specifics of the plan, and nearly one-third (35%) were somewhat familiar. More than half of those polled, sixty-two percent were not very familiar, or not familiar at all with the specifics of the legislation.

The lack of awareness found in this poll underscores the strong need for a large and meaningful educational effort regarding the specifics of the legislation in order for people to make informed decisions about this legislation. AARP is committed to continuing to educate its members and the American public.

This poll was conducted November 19-20th among a nationally representative sample of 494 AARP members by Knowledge Networks of Menlo Park, Ca. The sampling margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

See full survey (free Adobe Acrobat Reader required to view file).

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to making life better for people 50 and over. We provide information and resources; engage in legislative, regulatory and legal advocacy; assist members in serving their communities; and offer a wide range of unique benefits, special products, and services for our members. These include AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our quarterly publication for Hispanic members; NRTA Live and Learn for National Retired Teachers Association members; and our Web site, www.aarp.org. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

http://www.aarp.org/prescriptiondrugs/informed/Articles/a2003-11-20-survey.html

http://www.aarp.org/

AARP Urges the Senate to Pass Prescription Drug Bill Now

November 24, 2003

The fate of the landmark Medicare prescription drug bill is now in the hands of the U.S. Senate. More than a vote is at stake. With final passage in the Senate, the Congress will honor a longstanding promise to 41 million older and disabled Americans and their families by finally adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. This bill will help millions of people, especially those with low incomes and high drug costs. It will strengthen Medicare by adding this long overdue benefit and preserving the basic structure of the Medicare program.

The legislation also adds new preventive services for all Medicare beneficiaries, including a one-time physical examination, cholesterol and lipid screening and improved diabetes lab screening. And it provides a new benefit to better manage care for those who suffer from chronic conditions. Better chronic care management will help lower overall health care costs by preventing costly emergency room visits, hospital stays and nursing home enrollments.

We urge the Senate to seize this historic opportunity and vote to pass this bill now.

http://www.aarp.org/prescriptiondrugs/informed/Articles/a2003-11-24-bill.html

AARP Statement on House Passage of Medicare Prescription Drug Bill

November 22, 2003

AARP is pleased with the passage of the Medicare prescription drug bill in the U.S. House of Representatives. This is an important step toward fulfilling a longstanding promise to older and disabled Americans and their families. While this legislation is not perfect, it will help millions of people, especially those with low incomes and high drug costs.

Although this was a hard fought House vote, it is a victory for the American people, and will help current and future Medicare beneficiaries. We have said all along that this is an issue that calls for bipartisan cooperation. We now urge the Senate-Democrats and Republicans-- to work in that spirit to pass a final bill, which can be sent to the President for his signature. The enactment of this legislation is essential to strengthening health security for all Americans. But more must be done. AARP will continue to work in Washington, in the states and in other ways to make drug costs more affordable and accessible.

http://www.aarp.org/prescriptiondrugs/informed/Articles/a2003-11-22-rxhousepass.html

How the Medicare Drug Bill Helps Beneficiaries

Congressional leaders have announced an agreement in principle on legislation to finally add a long overdue drug benefit to Medicare.

The legislation is far from perfect, and details are still forthcoming, but it will clearly provide much-needed relief to millions of people, especially those most in need.

Establishing A Foundation: Congress is establishing a Medicare drug benefit and allocating $400 billion over ten years to help pay for the coverage. The benefit leaves substantial gaps in coverage for many people, but is an important foundation upon which further improvements can be made.
Modest Help With Drug Costs: Beginning in 2006, Medicare will pay for 75% of prescription drug costs for most people who choose to enroll, after a $250 annual deductible, up to $2,250.
Voluntary: This new Medicare benefit is voluntary - no one will be forced to enroll.
Solid Low-Income Assistance: People with low incomes get comprehensive drug coverage -
For beneficiaries up to 100% of poverty: no premiums, deductibles or gaps in coverage, and copays of $1 for generics and $3 for brand name prescription drugs.
For beneficiaries between 100% and 135% of poverty: no premiums, deductibles or gaps in coverage, and copays of $2 for generics and $5 for brand name drugs.
For beneficiaries between 135% and 150% of poverty: no premiums or gaps in coverage, a $50 deductible and a 15% copay on each prescription.
Protection for People with the Highest Drug Costs: Once a beneficiary spends $3,600 of their own money on drugs ($5,100 in total Rx spending) Medicare will pay 95% of the rest of their drug costs.
Generous Employer Subsidies to Maintain Current Coverage: The legislation provides $88 billion in subsidies for employers (both public and private) to retain existing retiree drug coverage.
Traditional Medicare Protected: Earlier proposals that threatened traditional Medicare by forcing it to compete on an un-level playing field with private insurers were dropped. Instead, there is only a time-limited test project restricted to six urban areas with strict criteria and beneficiary protections.
All Beneficiaries Have Access to Drug Coverage: The legislation ensures that Medicare beneficiaries in all areas of the country can get drug coverage. The Secretary of Health and Human Services will arrange to deliver benefits if at least two private options for Medicare drug coverage are not offered in any given region.
Safety Protections: The legislation provides safety mechanisms to prevent drug errors including electronic prescribing of medication.
Discount Card: Beginning in spring 2004 Medicare beneficiaries can get a discount card that offers some help with soaring drug prices and includes a $600 subsidy for those with low-incomes.
New Medicare Benefits: The legislation provides a new chronic care benefit in all Medicare coverage options and new preventive services including a one-time physical examination, cholesterol and lipid screening, and improved diabetes lab screening.

http://www.aarp.org/prescriptiondrugs/informed/Articles/a2003-11-20-howhelps.html
Wow. I'm shocked that the AARP web siteOldEdScott
Nov 24, 2003 10:58 AM
cites this evidence that its members support it. I would expect the opposite to be reported there.

Poll 'em on 'cherry picking' and 'high risk pools' and see what the response is.
Doug, listen to Ed for once...Cory
Nov 25, 2003 10:07 AM
As he said, AARP is acting as an insurance company on this one. I've been a member (hey, great motel discounts) since I turned 50, and just in those few years, the organization has changed. They're hustling insurance more than they're aiding seniors these days. I get regular offers for car insurance, telling me how much I'll save as a responsible senior driver. I fill out all the information, including the fact that I have an 18-year-old daughter, and send it back. I've never once gotten a quote, or even a reply. I'm surprised they aren't hawking AARP ball caps and T-shirts.
I didn't see the results of the Medicare poll, but I did see the questions, and they were obviously skewed. It was practically the equivalent of, "Would you rather die of pneumonia in the gutter or accept the Republican prescription plan?" Whoa, eight out of 10 will take the drugs!
I tried to do a column on AARP's position, but a phone operator told me they "weren't taking media inquiries" and an e-mail brought a form reply that "because of the large volume of comment," they weren't sending individual answers. A second e-mail, as an AARP member rather than a reporter, wasn't answered at all. Normally they reply in 24 hours.
OK, nobody's going to change his mind at this point. Write this down, though: When people find out what this really is, there's going to be a huge backlash. But Bush will be through with elections forever, so he's golden.
the best settlments mean nobody is happyDougSloan
Nov 25, 2003 10:18 AM
That's the saying in my business. Here, I can see how no one is happy. Republicans oppose spending the money; Democrats oppose assisting corporations. This bill is oddly widely accepted and condemned. That probably means it's good. ;-)

Republicans never would have passed this type of government program at a straight up handout. So, to get it passed at all, and at least arguably benefit some seniors, you must accept some aspects of the bill that many people won't like. That's politics. My question to Democrats is whether they'd rather not have any benefit at all? However, my bet is that what Democrats are mostly upset about is that now Republicans can take credit for a drug benefit, and the Democrats were check-mated into begrudgingly going along with it, lest they be condemned for opposing it. That would have been political suicide (especially if it would pass, anyway).

Doug
big pharma is happy. ecstatic even. nmrufus
Nov 25, 2003 10:31 AM
'In the know' Repubs are pretty damn happy.OldEdScott
Nov 25, 2003 11:11 AM
They know that in exchange for this so-called 'benefit,' most of which will get channeled straight into pharamaceutical/insurance company coffers do not pass go, they get to kill the Medicare program they've hated so badly for so long, but which the country absolutely wants and supports.

They recognize they can only circumvent the country's will through subterfuge. And I gotta congratulate 'em, they're good at it. And we're piss poor at explaining it so people understand what's going on.
I'm not sure support for medicare is as strong as you say it is,TJeanloz
Nov 25, 2003 11:16 AM
I don't know for sure, but I don't think people really like medicare all that much. If there were a viable alternative, I think most people would prefer it. I know that my grandparents all have the utmost disdain for it. I think it's such an ingrained entitlement, that you'd have a hard time taking it away - but people who rationally think about it don't have a lot of love for it.

Much like social security - in concept, we like it, in practice, not so much. Now that we're faced with paying for it, it's a little bit worse than it sounded 60 years ago.
Maybe not, but I'd sure like to test it out.OldEdScott
Nov 25, 2003 11:31 AM
If you'll notice, even frothing-mouthed Republican candidates go out of their way to assure voters they will 'protect' SS and Medicare. I assume they've read the same polling data I have. Believe me, it's third-rail stuff.

So OK. I propose the GOPers just come clean. Say: "People who think rationally about SS and Medicare don't have a lot of love for it, and you know what: I don't either. I don't really want 'em and I don't think the country really wants 'em either. So elect me and as the first order of business, I'm going to introduce legislation that will abolish those two nightmare entitlements."

Have every Repub House candidate next year say that, and have every Democrat House candidate say: "This guy's NUTS, we're going to absolutely protect and keep SS and Medicare AS YOU'VE KNOW IT FOR SO LONG if you elect me."

The Dems would control the House 535-0 after that campaign.
the other part of the equation, thoughDougSloan
Nov 25, 2003 11:41 AM
The Republicans also say that, in exchange, we'll abolish income taxes so that you can save your own money to spend how you please. Democrats respond that to save Social Security and Medicare, all tax rates will increase 10%. What now?

Doug
Doesn't matter. Say exactly that next campaign.OldEdScott
Nov 25, 2003 11:51 AM
Outcome: 535-0, advantage Dems.

This is the one political absolute in the country. Everything else is pretty much up for grabs, but this is not.

That's why I admire (professionally) how the Repubs have managed to pull this Medicare thing off. They abolishing it under the guise of expanding it! Pure genius! Malevolent genius, maybe but genius nonetheless,
survey uses loaded terms.dr hoo
Nov 24, 2003 11:28 AM
You should always doubt surveys that support the organization that adminsters them. The survey is flawed. It uses LOADED terminology in describing the plan. The questions themselves are not so bad, but what lies between the questions is.... questionable.

Example, the plan "closes legal loopholes...". Anyone for keeping loopholes open?

I am interested in how this one plays out.
Not to say that I'm a Republican,TJeanloz
Nov 24, 2003 10:09 AM
I don't really support or not the drug benefit. From a philosophical perspective, I don't support it. I don't believe that the Government should be in the healthcare business, at least not right now. But from a realistic perspective, the Government is in the healthcare business, and providing prescription drugs is an increasing part of that business. So if you take it as inevitable that a prescription drug benefit of some kind or other WILL happen, the one currently proposed looks pretty good to me.

My question, to the Left who oppose the Iraq expenditure, is how come there were so many questions about the fiscal irresponsibility of spending $87B on Iraq, and no such questions about spending $400B on prescription drugs? If you're worried about fiscal policy, which you all pretended you were, how could you support this bill - or any new spending of this size or larger?
Uh ... Hello?OldEdScott
Nov 24, 2003 10:20 AM
I don't believe the Left DOES support this bill. Last time I called The Left on the phone and asked, it said it didn't. Could be wrong.

As for spending $400 million on drugs, the Left LOVES drugs ...

Wait, different question. Hey, you're the one who says $500 million (or whatever) annual deficits are NOTHING in an economy this size. I assume $400 million for drug coverage is equally inconsequential, eh?
No they don't - it's not enough...TJeanloz
Nov 24, 2003 10:24 AM
You're right, the Left doesn't support this bill - because it isn't enough. I haven't heard anybody on the Left complain that $400B is too costly - as they did about the $87B; only that the program isn't expansive enough, or doesn't accomplish what they want.

I don't believe the money is a big issue. I'm asking those of you who thought $87B was too much money, what you think of spending $400B on medicare?
Comparing apples to oranges, or something.OldEdScott
Nov 24, 2003 10:31 AM
If you think $200 is too much to spend for a guitar-shaped toilet seat, what do you think of spending $5,000 for college tuition?

What the hell kind of question is that?
That's not the comparison.TJeanloz
Nov 24, 2003 10:35 AM
The comparison is: will $87 Billion lead the U.S. economy to financial hardship and ruin?

But, for some reason, the question of $400B isn't posed the same way.

I'm not arguing with the merits of the expenditures. The position of the Left was that the U.S. could not AFFORD $87B in Iraq - if we can't afford $87B in Iraq, how can we possibly afford $400B at home?

To put it in your terms: we don't have enough money to pay for a $200 guitar-shaped toilet seat; we should spend $5,000 on college tuition.
I think you are misscharacterizing the objection.czardonic
Nov 24, 2003 10:44 AM
What I heard was that "The Left" felt that 87B could be better spent at home, and if we have that kind of money to give away to oil-rich countries, why are we laying of police, fireman, teachers, cutting back on financial aid to teachers, lowballing homeland security, etc.
Granted, I heard plenty of that,TJeanloz
Nov 24, 2003 10:49 AM
But there was a clear sentiment that $87B for Iraq was fiscally irresponsible on the part of the President. Unless you propose that the medicare benefit will provide some additional revenue to the Government, as, say, a tax cut might [let's not debate that, just acknowledge that some people, crazy as they may be, think that lower marginal tax rates could increase revenues], how is spending an additional $400B on ANYTHING not irresponsible?
Its a matter of who you spend the money on.czardonic
Nov 24, 2003 11:04 AM
True, the Left is for spending money on people. What they tend to be against is spending money on corporations that funnel it back to the GOP. That was one of the reasons they objected to the Iraq spending. (Another was to remind voters that money was tight thanks to Bush's tax cuts for the rich). From what I have heard, this is Medicare bill is largely corporate welfare for the GOPs supporters in Big Pharma.

So again, to say that The Left must support this plan because they support the idea of a prescription drug benefit is muddying things a bit.
I'm not saying the Left must support this...TJeanloz
Nov 24, 2003 11:08 AM
I think my question got confused, probably my fault for putting it in the wrong place. The question is this:

Would you support a medicare prescription drug bill [this one, or one of your choosing] that cost $400B?

AND

If we couldn't afford $87B for Iraq, how can we afford your bill?

My question is, since the Left took the fiscal highground last month, why aren't they defending it?
No.czardonic
Nov 24, 2003 11:33 AM
Without price controls, this is a recipe for higher priced drugs, just as many people unable to afford them and a $400B stronger lobby working to keep things that way. But even with price controls, education and child care are higher priorities for me.

I think that we could afford the $87B for Iraq. I don't trust the current administration to spend it wisely.
it depends....rufus
Nov 24, 2003 12:59 PM
if by the government spending that money on a plan that causes average citizens to save an equal or greater amount in costs for drugs, doctor and hospital visits, and insurance, then they have that money to be used for other things. that extra personal income could serve as further stimulus for growth in the economy.

if a medicare reform plan allows seniors to save an extra $3-5000/year in drug and other costs, without an increase in taxes, doesn't that leave more money in the hands of the people who earned it, just like a tax cut would?
Seniors earn money?TJeanloz
Nov 24, 2003 1:07 PM
It puts more money in the hands of seniors, no doubt about it. It's wealth distribution on a grand scale - taking from everybody working and giving it to those who are not. And let's not forget, everybody who is working is paying for medicare. If this were being proposed as a temporary stimulous, that would be one thing, but I don't think it would have a long term effect on taxes. But I will have to think about that one a bit more.
we all end up paying for uninsureds alsorufus
Nov 24, 2003 1:50 PM
in the form of higher insurance rates, hospital costs, and drug prices. it's all part of the same circle of spiralling health care costs. something has to be done to control costs, and extend coverage. what the solution is, god knows.
I've never in my life said or believed thatOldEdScott
Nov 24, 2003 10:54 AM
$87 billion will 'lead the U.S. economy to financial hardship and ruin.' Bush's overall guns, butter and tax cuts policies may, but Iraq in isolation, no. You have put words in my mouth, I do believe.

I DO think the $87 billion could be better spent than pissing it away in Iraq, although clearly we need to spend SOMETHING in Iraq. We could quibble over how much. We DO need to buy new toilet seats now and then.

I contend, though, that 'afford' is a relative term. Many of us find we can 'afford' necessary big-ticket items if we believe we 'can't afford' ridiculous and wasteful indulgences. But that's just a fiscally responsible centrist Democrat speaking.
yes, we can always afford a new bike ;-) nmDougSloan
Nov 24, 2003 10:56 AM
Perfect example. Some things areOldEdScott
Nov 24, 2003 11:02 AM
'necessary expenditures!'
"feel good" expenditures are "necessary" nmDougSloan
Nov 24, 2003 11:04 AM
I never said you did,TJeanloz
Nov 24, 2003 11:00 AM
Believe it or not Ed, you don't speak for the entire Left. I never questioned anybody specifically, because I can't remember specifically who was so opposed to the $87B on fiscal grounds.

I've got no problem with either expenditure on fiscal grounds - we can afford both. My question is to those who said that the $87B was putting our economy in danger, etc. I'm not saying that you, Ed, said these things - merely that they were said, and what do those people think of spending $400B+ on medicare?
I think you have demonstrated the inconsistencyDougSloan
Nov 24, 2003 11:08 AM
With may politicians, consistency is never an issue. They do not make decisions based upon consistent ideological grounds. To question them on it is a waste of time. They do what they think will get them re-elected.

My wife throws a fit if our cable bill goes up a buck, or if we are day late returning a movie rental. Spending an extra $10,000 to get the car she wanted was no problem.

Doug
May I say HELLO! andOldEdScott
Nov 24, 2003 11:21 AM
shout something:

THE LEFT, the wad of us that TJ/Steam/Doug Sloan see as one-voiced and cartoonish, believe in health care as a necessary governmental expenditure. So of COURSE we can afford it, or find a way.

THE LEFT, the wad, has never said we can't afford (as in don't have the money) to spend $87 billion on Iraq. TJ throws this up and gnaws on it like a Chow with a deer leg, but it's simply not true and not even relevant. There's no connection between the two, and it's silly to insist there is, except to make some polemical point that escapes me logically.

It's still university tuition vs. gilt toilet seat. Sorry.
Believe it or not TJ, your posts andOldEdScott
Nov 24, 2003 11:12 AM
the posts of many others on this board lump 'The Left' together in such a monolithic one-voiced wad that I can't accept your distinction. I MUST speak for the Left, if I'm speaking at all, since we're a one-brained, one-cell organism. Besides you were talking to me. What else can I assume?

As for 'those people,' I'm not aware of anyone who said the $87 billion in an of itself was going to bring financial ruin on the country. I'd like to see it, if so. I don't think even Barbra Sreisand is that idiotic. Almost certainly, it would have been in a larger context of ruinous Bush tax/spend/war policy.
Believe it or not TJ, your posts andTJeanloz
Nov 24, 2003 11:29 AM
My question was posed to those on the Left who opposed the Iraq expenditure, but traditionally advocate social spending. Not to anybody in particular, just to people in general who fit that mold. And obviously not to everybody on "The Left", because some wouldn't fit that construct. And, as you know, I'm not talking about National politicians or Barbara Streisand - I don't care about their opinions as much as those of the people who post here.

Nobody said that?

Spoiler Sep-24-03, 09:20 AM:

"Now Rummy is declaring that $90,000,000,000 is affordable. Affordable to his old corrupt azz, but quite expensive for for most Americans."

That's just the first one I could find.
Oh, let's dance on the head of the pinOldEdScott
Nov 24, 2003 11:42 AM
figuring the definition of 'affordable.' I just told my wife that we can't 'afford' to get the full movie package on satellite. It's what, $50 a month? Obviously I can pay that amount, and not be financially ruined by it. I can AFFORD it. But I think it's expensive for a luxury I won't get much real benefit from.

I just paid $30K for a wedding (health care) but say I can't afford the $50 movie package (Iraq misadventure).

Your turn to lead, but remember the pinhead is tiny.
O.K. Fine.TJeanloz
Nov 24, 2003 11:53 AM
It's clear that I misunderstood the remarks of certain posters a few months ago when the Iraq expenditure was discussed at length. I apologize for that. It's now clear that nobody was concerned about the actual availability of the $87B; or the impact on the U.S. economy of spending $87B in Iraq. Certainly nobody on the Left had any such concerns.

So, apparently, my question is without basis. Fine, I misunderstood the position of certain posters, it is clear that everybody is on the same page and that $87 Billion is not a lot of money, in the context of the United States budget.
If you're spending that kind of $ColnagoFE
Nov 24, 2003 10:50 AM
Why not just admit defeat and socialize medicine in the US? That way we include everyone in need of affordable healthcare--not just seniors--in the equation.
The gov is not allowed to negotiate drug prices, is that ok?128
Nov 24, 2003 11:26 AM
Honestly, I don't know what to make of that. Otoh, it brings down the price, otoh it encroaches on the free-market. Result is the G spends more than it has to for the drugs to stay (less) competitive (i.e more in line with current drug pricing)

But in this case, healthcare, why shouldn't the Gov. get involved in the price fixing? Sort of like what Walmart does for toys.

Also, the gap coverage sounds like a looming nightmare. That coverage between 2K and 4.5K (whatever the #'s) where the privates get to sell gap insurance. Like HMO's, these schemes can lead to huge admin costs b/c 'who pays' gets very complicated and the paper starts to fly. Looks like HMO admin problem all over again....?
re: I assume you board Republicans support this massive newNo_sprint
Nov 25, 2003 8:59 AM
I say we should work the other direction and one by one slash fat, cut costs and remove the cancerous socialist aspects from the government. There is no charge for the government to make a utopia for all it's citizens.

It sounds to me like another drain on us all.

At least the 87 billion will go into getting the U.S. more business, etc. We can at least make that money back. The prescrip. thing is simply a money sucker and drain on all taxpayers.
Don't know about that...TJeanloz
Nov 25, 2003 9:05 AM
It's $400B, but it too will be spent almost entirely on products made in the USA. Money spent by the government on products (say, prescription drugs) doesn't just vanish - it will be pushed through the drug companies. That's one of the reasons that, if I were concerned with these things, I would be opposed to this particular bill. Without price controls, this is effectively giving money to shareholders of big pharma. Of course, you took their money in the first place to pay for it, and managed to get drugs to the poor and middle class, so it might be a long run wash.

But the money isn't going up in smoke.
True, you're right. nmNo_sprint
Nov 25, 2003 9:44 AM
Same is true about most government spending.OldEdScott
Nov 25, 2003 12:28 PM
Which is why I never understood why people think it's so egregious. 'Handouts' to poor people are instantly spent in local communities. They ain't stashed in Bimini.
I don't think most people are opposed on fiscal grounds,TJeanloz
Nov 25, 2003 12:33 PM
From a government budget perspective, it doesn't bother me a whole lot. It bothers me from a moral/ethical perspective. I'm not opposed to them because they cost too much - I'm opposed to them because I think they're wrong.

This is, however, too big an issue to be tacked onto the bottom of this thread...