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Size of the Welfare State Continues to Grow as Prescription Drug Benefit Passes Congress

For Immediate Release. June 30, 2003On June 27, 2003, both the Senate and the House of Representatives approved the largest expansion of Medicare since its creation nearly forty years ago.  They passed legislation that would enact a huge new entitlement program to provide a prescription drug benefit.  

Conservative Republicans, and most Democrats voted against the Medicare Prescription Drug and Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (H.R. 2473) in the House of Representatives that passed by a 216 to 215 vote.  The Senate, on the other hand, overwhelmingly voted 76 to 21 for the measure. 

President George W. Bush was enthused by Congress’ passage of these entitlement measures when he said in a statement, “Seniors have waited too long for more choices and better benefits, including prescription drug coverage, similar to the kind now enjoyed by federal employees and members of Congress.  I will continue working closely with Congress during conference to make improvement and pass meaningful Medicare reform.” 

“In retrospect, if one looks at past growth in health care entitlement programs, the addition of a prescription drug benefits to Medicare will add up to many times its estimated cost of $400 billion,” said Dr. Joel P. Rutkowski, president of the American Voice Institute of Public Policy.  “The cost of entitlement programs are always underestimated to attract Congressional support for the various programs brought to a vote.   Furthermore, when delineating the program’s long-term fiscal soundness the drug benefit will burden Medicare with an expected liability of $4.4 trillion over the 75-year period but provides no means to fund that cost.”  

The new prescription drug benefit program is aimed at middle-income Americans and makes a farce of prudent reform and sensible budget control.  Congress’ reforms reduce choice and innovation and impose staggering financial burden on current and future generations instead of combining steps to assist some seniors with reforms to the unsustainable finances of the Medicare program.   

“Once again, President George W. Bush has lead Republicans to do what is politically expedient instead of doing what is right and best for seniors,” said Dr. Joel P. Rutkowski.  He added, “If President Bush continues his present course of action at the end of his first term in office, he will have caused the Welfare State to grow more than any other President in the history of this nation.  That would  have made even President Lyndon B. Johnson blush with envy.  It is the hope of the President as well as the Republicans in Congress that they have taken just one more democratic issues away from the Democrats in hopes to attract enough voters from this demographic group to get re-elected in 2004.  It is both morally and ethically wrong to promote public policy that is not best for this nation in hopes that it will buy enough voters for re-election while burdening current and future taxpayers with this wasteful unnecessary big government financial burden.”

For Interviews Contact:

Joel P. Rutkowski, P.h.D.
President, The American Voice Institute Of Public Policy

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