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Who passed Part D and why you should care.

The Medicare drug program – Part D – was the largest expansion of entitlement programs since the Great Society.
And it was – and is – a Republican program. A political masterstroke, Part D undoubtedly helped George W Bush get re-elected along with many GOP legislators, as seniors loved the new program
It was also completely unfunded; short term, long term, any term. The GOP decided to NOT set aside funds, or raise taxes, or cut other programs; they just passed Part D, committed to paying for it out of ‘general funds’ and to hell with the future.
Well, the future is here, and to listen to Eric Cantor, you’d think he had nothing to do with Part D.
The latest Medicare Actuary report indicates the GOP-passed Part D program has contributed $21.5 trillion to the ultimate Federal deficit. (page 146)
I bring this up not to anger my conservative readers, but rather to educate some who aren’t aware that Part D, and the costs of Part D, are the handiwork of Eric Cantor, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell et al.
Yep, the strident voices screaming for cost control were single-handedly responsible for a program that’s added $9.4 trillion to the ultimate deficit.
Here’s how one Libertarian sees the GOP legislators who voted for Part D.
“In particular, anyone who was in a position to vote on it, and voted for it, can simply never, ever be trusted to guard free enterprise or the Constitution against the ravages of Washington’s welfare state…Every single one of these folks, without exception, is in no position to criticize Obamacare or claim to want to beat back the tide of socialism [emphasis added] that supposedly began only two years ago when Obama rose to power. Every single one of them voted to shovel tax dollars to the pharmaceutical industry and the wealthiest age demographic — the elderly — in unambiguous defiance of the Constitution, individual liberty, the free market, fiscal sanity and classical American values.”

13 thoughts on “Who passed Part D and why you should care.”

  1. Jeeze Louise Joe, when are you gonna stop beating that drum. We get it, we get it.

  2. As a republican poster boy I have to agree. I always thought Part D was a Kennedy plan that Bush signed to demonstrate he can work with those across the Isle.

  3. Joe, If I recall correctly, one of the House leaders of the Part D legislation was Billy Tauzin from La., and he didn’t even finish his term in the House after the bill became law, he was in such a hurry to go to work as an exec w/PHRMA. They do have some gall.

  4. This is why I absolutely despise politics. Almost everyone involved, be they Republican or Democrat, make empty promises, talk out both sides of their mouths, and basically lie their way into office. Once there, they cater to special interest groups who can fund their campaign rather than the people who elected them to begin with.
    They also seek to vilify the other party for doing exactly what they do, be it overspend, overtax, or have an affair and lie about it. It all disgusts me!

  5. Now for the big problem. Have you noticed how Part D has been making it more difficult for senior by lowering the formulas, increasing the co-payments or even eliminating some co-payments and using co-insurance percentages. This has been going on since 2007. The poor seniors. What are they going to do, starting January 1, 2012 when New York State EPIC is almost gone, except for low income. I am sure that other states with RX plans for seniors, will also follow. No back-up any longer on Part D. Most seniors are unaware of this.

  6. You are, of course, correct on the irresponsibility of the vote in favor of Medicare Part D; however, I would contend that such a past failure no more disqualifies Republican congressmen from now being correct as to the need for fiscal restraint than Senator Obama’s past vote against raising the debt ceiling disqualifies him from getting that correct now as President. Unprincipled political calculation unfortunately is bipartisan in Washington.

  7. Whose phone did you hack to get this info? Surely the reason that the Democrats aren’t using this top secret information is because it must have been obtained illegally!

  8. mco
    1. President Obama has acknowledged his error. No one from the GOP except for Vance has. Is anyone from the GOP is talking about limiting Part D? Didn’t think so.
    2. Are you really comparing the GOP’s politically motivated passage of Part D and the accompanying $21.5 trillion deficit contribution to one Senator’s vote against debt limit expansion? Really?

  9. Tony – thanks as always for the note.
    If everyone was as up on these matters as you, I wouldn’t have to be so repetitive.
    With many things, this is all about timing – for some reason this post generated a lot of interest outside the work comp world and has been picked up by others.

  10. Joe, thanks for taking the time to respond to my comment.
    Regarding your first point, one need not be cynical to suggest that the President only acknowledged error when it became expedient to do so. As to whether anyone from the GOP is talking about limiting Part D, there are many conservatives that opposed it then and now, but there will be no serious effort to limit it because Dems will immediately take up accusing Republicans of forcing seniors to eat dog food in order to afford their drugs.
    As to the second point, I, of course, am not saying that the votes were equivalent; I am only pointing out that if one wishes to be consistent and to deny a hearing to those who have voted irresponsibly for the sake of political expediency in the past, one should recognize that this is a bipartisan problem and we may not have anyone left to vote.

  11. mco – me pleasure, and thanks for the dialogue.
    Of the GOP legislators who voted for Part D, only 1 has had public second thoughts. Sure, there are conservatives – and for that matter, liberals like me – who weren’t in favor of Part D – but the ones who passed it are dead silent.
    As to why they are silent, you may think it’s because of some political calculation, and I’d agree – just as their decision to pass Part D and add over twenty trillion to the deficit was pure politics.
    Where I think we differ is I believe the scale of these two issues is so different as to be incomparable. To me, these are not apples and oranges, they are apples and supernovas. Comparing the two is not only not appropriate, it also gives political cover to those who just want to say “see, they’re all alike”.
    They are – most obviously in this case – not.

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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