Democratic Presidential Candidate John Kerry Criticizes Bush Over New Medicare Cost Estimate
In a campaign speech Sunday in North Dakota, presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) accused the Bush administration of an "incredible cave-in" to pharmaceutical companies in response to new figures from the Office of Management and Budget that the Medicare law (HR 1) will cost more than previously estimated, AP/Long Island Newsday reports (Glover, AP/Long Island Newsday, 2/1). According to OMB, the Medicare law will cost $534 billion over the next 10 years, $134 billion more than previously estimated by the Congressional Budget Office (California Healthline, 1/30). Bush administration officials and Republican lawmakers cited the CBO estimate as they "pushed the legislation through Congress in November," AP/Newsday reports. Kerry said that based on the OMB estimate, "We learned that in [the Bush administration's] incredible cave-in to the powerful interests of the drug companies of America, they dunned the taxpayers of our nation $139 billion extra so they can line the pockets of people who contributed to their campaign." Kerry added that President Bush "thought [voters] wouldn't notice what's happening" (AP/Long Island Newsday, 2/1).
PBS' "Nightly Business Report" on Friday reported on the issue of health care in the 2004 presidential campaign. The segment includes comments from Rami Armon, senior political strategist for Lehman Brothers; President Bush; former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D); Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.); Kerry; and John Slingluff, president of Baltimore Belting (Gharib, "Nightly Business Report," PBS, 1/30). The complete transcript is available online. In addition, Dean discussed health care issues on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday (Russert, "Meet the Press," NBC, 2/1). The complete transcript is available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.