The Medicare prescription drug benefit President Bush signed into law in December has not provided the political boost among seniors that the White House and independent analysts expected, according to a comprehensive survey released yesterday.
The Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health have released a new poll done on old folks which shows the old folks are not happy about the new prescription drug entitlement.
WASHINGTON, DC-(August 10, 2004)- Many more people on Medicare have an unfavorable than a favorable impression of the new law that adds a drug benefit to the program, but most want Congress to fix rather than repeal it, according to a new survey of the opinions of people on Medicare released today. The survey found that, as of July 2004, nearly twice as many people on Medicare have an unfavorable view of the law (47%) as have a favorable view (26%), and one in four (25%) say that they don't know enough to offer an opinion.
Overall, two out of three people on Medicare (66%) say that lawmakers in Washington should work to fix problems in the law. Much smaller numbers favor repealing the law (10%) or leaving the law as is (13%), according to a national survey of 1,223 seniors and people with disabilities who receive Medicare conducted from June 16 to July 21. The survey, Views of the New Medicare Drug Law: A Survey of People On Medicare, was conducted jointly by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health to provide insight into the opinions of the 41 million Americans on Medicare, including the 6 million people on Medicare under age 65 who have permanent disabilities.
"Fifteen months from implementation, seniors are mostly negative and very confused, but there is little evidence of a large scale backlash," said Drew Altman, President and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation. "This survey suggests that there will be big debates in the future about the prescription drug law, but they will be about improving it, not repealing it."
What will a debate about "improving it" entail? I'm sure I do not have to spell it out for you but I will anyway: "improving it" means spending more money to provide more benefits to old folks at the expense of the rest of us. George W. Bush, in one of his bigger follies, has managed to commit the taxpayers to a large increase in entitlements that sets the stage for an even larger increase in entitlments and Bush managed to engineer this large increase in government spending without improving his own electoral prospects. Look, if you are going to buy votes (suppoisedly to maintain his ability to push other policies that right-wing partisans favor - but really only for his own self) then at least get something in return for the spending. Otherwise, what is the point in inflicting this spending splurge and eventual tax burden on the populace?
John Kerry is even worse than Bush on drug policy. Kerry favors importation of price-controlled drugs from Canada and "negotiation" of lower drug prices.
You know what's happening. Your premiums, your co-payments, your deductibles have all gone through the roof.
Our health care plan for a stronger America cracks down on the waste, greed, and abuse in our health care system and will save families up to $1,000 a year on their premiums. You'll get to pick your own doctor — and patients and doctors, not insurance company bureaucrats, will make medical decisions.
Under our plan, Medicare will negotiate lower drug prices for seniors. And all Americans will be able to buy less expensive prescription drugs from countries like Canada.
The story of people struggling for health care is the story of so many Americans. But you know what, it's not the story of senators and members of Congress. Because we give ourselves great health care and you get the bill.
Well, I'm here to say, your family's health care is just as important as any politician's in Washington, D.C.
And when I'm President, America will stop being the only advanced nation in the world which fails to understand that health care is not a privilege for the wealthy, the connected, and the elected — it is a right for all Americans.
Medicare already gets the lowest prices that pharmaceutical makers provide to their other domestic customers.
An extension of price controls into the United States will lower the rate of return for investment in new drugs development and therefore will inevitably lead to a reduction in research and development budgets by pharmaceutical companies as well as a reduction of venture capital funding for biotech start-ups. As a result we will have fewer new treatments and lower life expectancies than would otherwise have been the case..
As bad as Bush is on drug policy a President Kerry would be even worse. Is it worth putting up with Bush's foreign policy folly in order to maintain the incentives of pharma and biotech companies to develop new treatments? That's a hard call.
For more on the drug benefit debacle see my previous post Republican Medicare Drug Benefit Backfires Politically.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2004 August 11 03:39 PM Politics American Domestic|