August 27, 2004

August 27, 2004 | WebMemo on Health Care

Bitter Pills #15: Forget Vietnam - Here's What Bush and KerryShould Talk About

Swift boats and missing service records. Sept. 11 and Iraq. The economy and jobs.

Voters have heard plenty about these topics. But Robert J. Samuelson notes there's one subject barely mentioned from President Bush and his challenger, Sen. John Kerry: Social Security and Medicare. Specifically, the rising cost of these programs as millions of baby boomers prepare to retire this decade.

"Everyone knows this; surely Bush and Kerry do," The Washington Post columnist wrote in a Sept. 8 piece. "But our leaders refuse to lead. They won't acknowledge or do something obvious about it."

How true. Members of Congress had a chance to publicly address and propose serious solutions to the explosive costs of this issue. But they ignored it and added a prescription-drug entitlement to Medicare last year. They swept it under the rug, hoping no one would notice.

Samuelson noticed. So did The Heritage Foundation, which offered ways to promote real cost containment for Medicare before and after the fact. The secret, Medicare expert Joseph Antos wrote in a Heritage research paper last April, is to restructure the program and model it after the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, which has been around since the 1960s. Read more of Antos' paper here:
http://www.heritage.org/Research/HealthCare/bg1751.cfm.

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

"Bitter Pills" is an occasional, but regular, feature from The Heritage Foundation on how the 2003 Medicare drug law is full of sickening "surprises" that have serious consequences for seniors and taxpayers. Of course, The Heritage Foundation isn't surprised at all. We diagnosed the problems long ago in ourMedicare Maladies series. Both Medicare Maladies and Bitter Pills are available on heritage.org (if you can stomach them).

About the Author