This bill is essentially a $400 billion bribe, designed to buy votes in next year's election. At a time when it has become more obvious than ever that the Medicare program is destined to bankrupt the federal treasury, this bill features no structural reforms, no real means testing, and no economic logic.Well, I already pointed out that governance in America today means nothing much more than who benefits from the money funnel that we call the federal government. Whether Left or Right, whether Democrat or Republican, the only real questions of American government and governance are, "Who will be be the beneficiaries of government spending? How much shall we exact from the public for it, and by what means?"
It is, in fact, the purest sort of political thievery, taking the wages of the working poor (Medicare is the most regressive tax program in the federal budget) and giving them to a politically powerful bloc of voters, without regard to who among those voters needs or deserves a piece of this spectacularly unjust giveaway.
Now we know how they are answering the question: they take money from the demographic groups of people who vote less and give it to the groups who vote more. In America today, there is a direct correlation between age and voting. More older people vote, and vote more regularly, than younger people do.
The number one objective of every elected official is to be reelected. That's why both the Democrats and the Republicans want to buy seniors' votes with a prescription-drug plan.
Update: Steven Antler points out that the drug plan won't actually help many seniors, and the ones it doers help, it won't help a whole lot (via Bill Hobbs).
This is, of course, the usual Congressional shell game. They tell a chosen constituency of the great things they are doing for them, make huge political hay out of how compassionate and caring they are, and then it finally sinks in that what was actually done was not all that much. Both parties do this. The only real difference is that the Democrats do it with money more than the Republicans, who tend to do it with legislation or, just as commonly, empty symbolic gestures such as the constitutional amendment to forbid burning the flag (don't get me started on that stupidity). But both will use your money to buy someone else's votes, quite readily.
If you read the details of the bill in the WashTimes piece, you can see why it's probably more a con game than real aid:
Under the Senate bill, a senior would pay $275 annually and then would have to pay only 50 percent of drug costs up to $4,500. Seniors then would have to cover their full costs until about $5,800, when Medicare would cover 90 percent of costs. . . ."We're from the government, and we're here to help you."
Under the House measure, seniors would pay a $250 annual deductible and 20 percent of drug costs up to $2,000, at which point they'd be on their own until their total out-of-pocket costs reach $3,700. Medicare then would pay all drug bills.
However, the House bill institutes a "means test" under which seniors with incomes above $60,000 would have to pick up some of their drug bills beyond the catastrophic level.