March 14th, 2004

Professional

Medicare Ads

For weeks, the Bush administration has been using our tax money to run misleading ads for the new Medicare law. Though studies show most people will pay more and millions could lose existing coverage, the $12 million ad campaign says, "Same Medicare, more benefits."

Now, a congressional study has found that the ads include "omissions," overstatements, and a "political tone" not appropriate for "public education" advertising. It's clear that the real intent of these ads is to whitewash President Bush's huge drug lobby give-away in this election year.

  • Congress's General Accounting Office investigated the ads and found that while they are not technically illegal, they contain "omissions," overstatements, and have a "political tone." The GAO pointed to the ad's failure to mention that drug discount cards will cost up to $30 annually, and that savings will vary by drug.

  • The new Medicare law has fatal flaws. The government's ads call it "the same Medicare, more benefits." In fact, it's "the same Medicare, more benefits for the drug companies and HMOs--not for average Americans."

  • Most people will actually pay more under the new law. According to a Consumers' Union study, "Most beneficiaries will face higher out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs after full implementation, despite the benefit."

  • People with drug costs of around $500 per month get no Medicare help for half the year. Each year, people on Medicare must pay 100% of their drug costs between $2251 and $5100.

  • Medicare is forbidden to negotiate lower prices with drug companies, despite the Veterans Administration's proven success of this approach.

  • Drug companies will get $139 billion in new profits under this law, and HMOs will receive billions to participate. The Wall Street Journal wrote, "Corporate lobbying groups are emerging as winners."

  • 2.7 million seniors could lose more generous benefits from their former employers, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

  • The media firm hired to run Medicare's TV ads, National Media Inc. of Arlington, Virginia, also works for the President's reelection campaign, the Republican Party and drug companies.
  • Above info from MoveOn.org