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March 14, 2004

Medicare Lies & Intimidation

The story of the Medicare actuary being told not to give accurate info to Congress or risk being fired is a bad scandal, but the policy damage of this should be emphasized.

The administration and GOP wants to say, What's the big deal that some estimates were higher for their bill? The Democrats wanted to spend more money in any case:

Senator Grassley said the Democrats were being disingenuous.

"They embrace an administration estimate to suit the partisan cause of undermining the Medicare bill," he said. He said many Democrats had favored an alternative bill that "by anybody's estimate would have cost hundreds of billions of dollars more than what we enacted."

But the question is whether the Democratic alternative-- with price controls on Big Pharma, drug imports and other alternative cost controls-- would have been more expensive in honest cost comparisons?

The administration no doubt wanted to low-ball the costs of their own bill, specifically to make it appear less expensive than Democratic alternatives.

The result of the Bush withholding of information, like its lies on Iraq and many other policy areas, is that decisions are made based on a misunderstanding of what the benefits and costs of alternative decisions would be. If WMDs existed in Iraq, the dangers of inaction were higher, so the argument for war was stronger-- and the reverse was obviously true (and the real situation).

Bush is a Liar. Period. End of story. He should be impeached for his lies, but in any case, no one who lies to the American people on core political decisions of war and health deserves reelection. (Somehow the GOP thought lies about blowjobs were enough to require impeachment a few years ago-- funny how their standards change.)

Posted by Nathan at March 14, 2004 10:44 AM