pushing Congress to pass its controversial Medicare
bill, President Bush promised that "corporations
have no intention to what they call 'dump retirees'"
from their existing prescription drug coverage.
But according to a new report, Bush's own health
officials estimate that millions will be cut off
from their existing drug coverage because of the
new Medicare law.
to government documents obtained by the New York
Times, the Bush Administration now estimates "that
employers will reduce or eliminate prescription
drug benefits for 3.8 million retirees when Medicare
offers such coverage in 2006." That represents
one-third of all the retirees with employer-sponsored
drug coverage. Medicare's new benefits are often
less comprehensive than those offered by employers.
reported in an earlier Daily Mislead, even
while Bush was reassuring the nation about the
Medicare bill, he was actually working to create
an incentive for employers to cut off seniors
from existing coverage. According to the Wall
Street Journal, the Administration quietly added
"a little-noticed provision" to the bill that
allows companies to severely reduce - or almost
completely terminate - their retirees' drug coverage
"without losing out on the new subsidy." In other
words, the President did not just break his promise
to sign a bill that prevents seniors from losing
their existing drug coverage. He actually acted
to reward companies who cut off their retirees
with a lavish new tax break. The companies that
lobbied for the provision donated almost $140,000
in hard money and $2.5 million in soft money to
Bush and his party since 2000.
1. Presidential Remarks, WhiteHouse.gov, 10/29/03,
2. "Medicare Law Is Seen Leading to Cuts in Drug
Benefits for Retirees," New York Times, 7/14/04,
3. "Bush Acts to Reward Companies Who Cut off
Seniors' Drug Coverage," Misleader.org, 1/08/04,
4. Ibid, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=45856.
Posted: July 17, 2004