August 5, 2003

August 5, 2003 | WebMemo on Health Care

Medicare Malady #16: A Better Medicare Bill Is a New One, Mr.President

"It's absolutely essential that the House and the Senate resolve their differences and enact a piece of legislation that I can sign. … We must keep the promise of Medicare by giving our seniors better coverage and better choices."

So said President Bush during a July 30 press conference. It's a nice, "can't we all just get along?" statement. But what Bush didn't say is that the Medicare legislation, currently being hammered out by a Capitol Hill committee, needs more than a resolving of differences. It needs a major overhaul.

Recent Heritage Foundation research has found that Medicare "reforms," such as adding prescription-drug coverage as an entitlement, would:

• Force about 4.4 million retirees to lose their drug coverage.

• Increase out-of-pocket drug costs by an average of $621 for seniors.

• Cost taxpayers a total of $2 trillion through 2030, with higher costs thereafter.

"The Medicare drug entitlement is a policy disaster," Heritage health-care expert Robert Moffit says. "It would be better if both the House and the Senate threw out the current legislation and started from scratch. "

Stick to your guns, Mr. President. Demand a better bill.

Read more about Heritage's Medicare research at heritage.org.

For more information or to receive an e-mail version of "Medicare Maladies," contact medicaremaladies@heritage.org or call Heritage Media Services at (202) 675-1761.

About the Author

Related Issues: Health Care