RNC: Help! Medicare Drug Bill Is a Flop

The folks at the Republican National Committee proved today just how desperate the Bush Administration is at trying to salvage the President’s Medicare prescription drug plan—what Bruce Bartlett today called “the worst bill in history.”

The drug plan—staunchly opposed by conservatives at the time of its passage in 2003—is now in the process of being implemented. The early returns: Seniors don’t like it. (From a personal perspective, I asked my grandmother about it this past weekend, and she told me she and my grandfather took a pass, as did my great aunt.)

The Bush Administration in recent weeks has scrambled to talk up the bill in hopes of encouraging seniors to sign up—using the exact same logic as the RNC (below is an email I got today). Conservatives should ask themselves: Might it be better to let this $720 billion (over 10 years) government subsidy (the largest since LBJ) flop on its own?

Dear Robert,

This week, as families across the country gather for Thanksgiving, millions of Medicare recipients can begin to sign up for new prescription drug benefits under the President’s Medicare Modernization Act. We urge you to take this family time together to talk about the new program, and how it can benefit those eligible in your family.

Under this new plan, which takes effect on January 1, 2006, Medicare recipients will be eligible for lower prices on brand name and generic medications, a subsidy to pay them, and the availability of drugs at a nominal price once they’ve spent their subsidy. The purchasing power of seniors is finally being pooled to provide real savings on prescriptions.

The plan offers a range of flexible options so that seniors can pick the prescription drug coverage that works the best for their medical needs, and more importantly they have opportunity to evolve their plan as their needs change. All plan premiums are less than $20 a month, and have deductibles of less than $250 per year – and some seniors may even qualify for plans with no deductibles. Aside from the obvious financial benefits and flexibility, Medicare recipients will be eligible for additional medical advantages, such as diabetes and cardiovascular screenings.

This new Medicare plan is integral in providing necessary medical coverage for America’s seniors. Be sure to discuss the improvements and new options with the seniors in your family over this Thanksgiving holiday so that they can begin receiving better benefits as soon as possible.


Michael DuHaime
Political Director, Republican National Committee