than a year ago, President Bush promised Americans
that he would "provide seniors with a drug discount
card that saves them 10 to 25% off the cost of
all drugs, so they'll start seeing savings immediately"
on their medications (1). But, as the program
launches next week, experts have concluded that
the cards don't guarantee seniors any savings
at all (2). Additionally, instead of admitting
this, the President used millions in taxpayer
money to promote the cards through television
ads - ads that government regulators later said
the New York Times reports, the White House plan
locks seniors into the cards they initially choose,
then allows the card sponsors "to change their
prices on a weekly basis," thus never guaranteeing
any benefit at all (3). Instead of telling the
seniors the truth when this reality became apparent,
the President used tens of millions of dollars
of taxpayer funds to air television ads promising
that the drug cards will save seniors money. Some
of the ads even used fake reporters in an effort
to trick viewers into thinking they were watching
objective news (4). The General Accounting Office
soon concluded that the ads contained "notable
omissions and errors" (5).
possible reason the President never forced card
sponsors to guarantee savings could be Bush's
relationship with a longtime Texas crony and drug
card industry executive who could profit from
bilking seniors. According to the Boston Globe,
the President allowed David Halbert, CEO of drug
card company AdvancePCS, to "craft the portion
of the Medicare bill" that created the card program,
even though Halbert had a financial interest in
the bill and has had a close relationship with
Bush for years (6). For instance, "Bush had been
an investor in a Halbert-owned predecessor company
to AdvancePCS" and Halbert "contributed to Bush
campaigns from his 1994 gubernatorial race through
his White House bid in 2000."
1. President Bush Calls for Action on 38th Anniversary
of Medicare, 07/30/2003, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=31347.
2. "New Drug Card Called Passport To Confusion",
Hartford Courant, 04/25/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=31348.
3. "Feds will keep drug discount on the up and
up", Wichita Eagle, 12/11/2003, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=31349.
4. "Publicity Campaign Under Scrutiny", ABC News,
5. "Bush Medicare Reform Bill Become a Nightmare
for GOP", Miami Herald, 03/19/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=31351.
6. "Bush ally's firm vies for Medicare cards",
Boston Globe, 12/12/2003, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=31352.
Posted: April 28, 2004