Sunday, July 03, 2005

States Rebelling Against Medicare Drug Plan

We've known all along that Bush's Medicare prescription drug plan was actually a massive act of corporate welfare to benefit the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. The states are finding that it is also a new trick to get money out of them and into the federal treasury. While Republicans will not openly raise taxes, they will make virtually everyone pay more, even if hidden in state taxes.

The New York Times describes how states are rebelling. In theory the state governments might have saved money due to being relieved of some of the burden of paying for prescription drugs for Medicaid beneficiaries who are also on Medicare. The Medicare act does require that, in return for these benefits, the states make payments to the Medicare Trust Fund. State governments are now finding that these payments, along with administrative costs, are greater than the benefits they expect to receive.

Just as some states are rebelling against the unfunded mandates of No Child Left Behind, states are starting to rebel against the required Medicare payments. Texas is leading this rebellion as the Republican Governor has vetoed a $444 million appropriation covering their contribution for the next two years.


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